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flute of Initria 



M.A. (Oxford), LL.D. (Cambridge) 





-fly^oA^sW; mq. es 




From an Indian drawing of the sixteenth century 










• I 


The chief authority for Babar's life is his own 
Memoirs or Commentaries, the Wakdi or Tuzak-i- 
Bdbari, on which see pp. 12-15. The English transla- 
tion by Erskine and Leyden, and Pavet de Courteille's 
French version, are both cited, but not always verbatim. 
The blanks in the Memoirs are to some extent filled 
by notices in the Tarikh-i-Rashidi, a history of the 
Mongols in Central Asia, written by Babar's cousin, 
Mirza Haidar, and completed within seventeen years 
after the Emperor's death : this important work has 
been admirably translated and edited by Professor 
E. Denison Boss and the late Consul -General 
N. Elias (1895). The TabaJcdt-i-Bdbari of Shaikh 
Zain-ad-din is little more than an inflated paraphrase 
of the later portions of the Memoirs. Babar's daughter, 
Gul-badan, who survived her father, also left some 
interesting Memoirs, which remain in MS. in the 
British Museum (Or. 166). The Shaibdni-ndma of 
Muhammad Salih (ed. Vambery, 1885) gives the rhap- 
sodical view of an enemy, and Mirza Iskandar's history 
throws light upon Babar's relations with Shall Isma'il ; 
on which the coins of the period also bear evidence, 


as interpreted in the late Professor R. Stuart Poole's 
Catalogue of Persian Coins in the British Museum 
(1887). Farishta, and Abu-1-Fazl (in the Akbar- 
ndma), base their narratives upon the Memoirs, with 
little addition of much consequence, and there are 
but few supplementary notices in Badadni and other 
writers extracted in Elliot and Dowson's great History 
of India as told by its own Historians. Erskine 
made excellent use of most of the available materials 
in the first volume of his History of India (1854), 
a most scholarly and profound work. Mr. H. G. Keene 
has also treated the subject ably in his Turks in 
India (1879). Essays relating to Babar have been 
published by Silvestre de Sacy, Darmesteter (Journal 
Asiatique, 1888, 1890), Teufel (Z.D.M.G. xxxvii) ; 
and also by Mr. H. Beveridge (Calcutta Review, 1897), 
to whom, through Sir W. W. Hunter, I am indebted 
for bibliographical information. Unfortunately there 
was no European traveller who visited Babar's court 
either in Farghana, or Kabul, or Agra, and we are 
thus deprived of the advantage of a western estimate 
of his person and character. 

The map is based upon several sources : my own 
map of mediaeval India, published in my Catalogue 
of Indian Coins in the British Museum ; Mr. Elias's 
admirable map of Central Asia in the Tarikh-i-Rashidi; 
Sir H. Yule's map in Wood's Oxus; Waddington's 
map prefixed to Erskine's translation of Babar's 
Memoirs ; and my map of Western Asia (No. 81) in the 
Historical Atlas edited by my brother (Oxford, 1899). 


The portrait is from the MS. in the British Museum 
(Add. 5,717, fol. 52), and though probably not earlier 
than the end of the sixteenth century, doubtless 
represents a tradition, and probably copies an earlier 
miniature. The British Museum possesses a magnifi- 
cent copy (Or. 3,714) of the best Persian translation 
of the Memoirs, illustrated by a series of sixty-eight 
exquisitely beautiful pictures of scenes in Babar's 
life, painted chiefly by Hindu artists of the time of 
Akbar, some of whom are mentioned by Abu-1-Fazl 
in the Ain-i-Akbari. 

S. L.-P. 

Trinity College, Dublin, May, 1899. 


Note on Authorities 
Introduction . 

II. Farghana, 1494 

III. Samarkand won and lost, 1494-1500 . 

IV. Second conquest of Samarkand, i 500-1 501 
V. Exile, 1502 

VI. Flight, 1502-1503 


VII. Kabul, 1 504-1 505 

VIII. Herat, 1506-1507 

IX. Kabul and Kandahar, 1507-1510 
X. Samarkand once more, 1510-1514. 

XI. The Invasion of India, 1519-1524 
XII. PANfPAT, 1524-1526 

XIII. Hindustan, 15 26-1 5 28 

XIV. Empire, 1528-1530 


Portrait of the Emperor Babar. 










Face page 16 




1 In the month of Ramazan of the year eight hun- 
dred and ninety-nine [June, 1494], I became King 
of Farghana.' Such are the opening words of the 
celebrated Memoirs of Babar, first of the 'Moghul' 
Emperors of Hindustan. 

Babar is the link between Central Asia and India, 
between predatory hordes and imperial government, 
between Tamerlane and Akbar. The blood of the 
two great Scourges of Asia, Chingiz and Timur, 
mixed in his veins, and to the daring and restlessness 
of the nomad Tatar he joined the culture and 
urbanity of the Persian. He brought the energy 
of the Mongol, the courage and capacity of the 
Turk, to the listless Hindu ; and, himself a soldier 
of fortune and no architect of empire, he yet laid 
the first stone of the splendid fabric which his grand- 
son Akbar achieved. 

His connexion with India began only in the last 


twelve years of his life. His youth was spent in 
ineffectual struggles to preserve his sovereignty in 
his native land. His early manhood, passed in his 
new kingdom of Kabul, was full of an unsatisfied 
yearning for the recovery of his mother country. It 
was not till the age of thirty- six that he abandoned 
his hope of a restored empire on the Oxus and 
Iaxartes, and turned his eyes resolutely towards the 
cities and spoils of Hindustan. Five times he invaded 
the northern plains, and the fifth invasion was a con- 
quest. Five years he dwelt in the India he had 
now made his own, and in his forty-eighth year he 

His permanent place in history rests upon his 
Indian conquests, which opened the way for an 
imperial line ; but his place in biography and in 
literature is determined rather by his daring adven- 
tures and persevering efforts in his earlier days, and 
by the delightful Memoirs in which he related them. 
Soldier of fortune as he was, Babar was not the less 
a man of fine literary taste and fastidious critical 
perception. In Persian, the language of culture, the 
Latin of Central Asia, as it is of India, he was an 
accomplished poet, and in his native Turki he was 
master of a pure and unaffected style alike in prose 
and verse 1 . The Turkish princes of his time prided 

1 His cousin, Mirza Haidar, himself the author of a famous 
history, wrote of him that he was ' adorned with various virtues 
and clad with numberless excellences, above all which towered 
bravery and humanity. In the composition of Turki poetry he was 


themselves upon their literary polish, and to turn 
an elegant ghazal, or even to write a beautiful 
manuscript, was their peculiar ambition, no less 
worthy or stimulating than to be master of sword 
or mace. In some of the boldly sketched portraits 
of his contemporaries which enliven the Memoirs, 
Babar often passes abruptly from warlike or adminis- 
trative qualities to literary gifts; he will tell how 
many battles a king fought, and then, as if to clinch 
the tale of his merits, he will add that he was a com- 
petent judge of poetry and was fond of reading the 
Shdh Ndma, yet had such a fist that 'he never struck 
a man but he felled him.' Of another dignitary he 
notes regretfully that ' he never read, and though 
a townsman he was illiterate and unrefined ' ; on the 
other hand ' a brave man ' is commended the more 
because he ' wrote the nastdlik hand,' though, truly, 
• after a fashion.' Wit and learning, the art of turning 
a quatrain on the spot, quoting the Persian classics, 
writing a good hand, or singing a good song, were 
highly appreciated in Babar' s world, as much perhaps 

second only to Amir'Ali Shir. He has written a divan in the purest 
and most lucid Turki. He invented a style of verse called mubaiyan, 
and was the author of a most useful treatise on jurisprudence 
which has been generally adopted. He also wrote an essay on 
Turki prosody, more elegant than any other, and versified the 
Rasala-i-Validiya of his Reverence. Then there is his Wakdi, 
or Turki ' Memoirs,' written in a simple, unaffected, yet very pure 
style. He excelled in music and other arts. Indeed, no one 
of his family before him ever possessed such talents, nor did any 
of his race perform such amazing exploits or experience such 
strange adventures.' (Tarikh-i-Rashidi, Ross and Elias.) 


as valour, and infinitely more than virtue. Babar 
himself will break off in the middle of a tragic story 
to quote a verse, and he found leisure in the thick 
of his difficulties and dangers to compose an ode 
on his misfortunes. His battles as well as his orgies 
were humanized by a breath of poetry. 

Hence his Memoirs are no rough soldier's chronicle 
of marches and countermarches, 'saps, mines, blinds, 
gabions, palisadoes, ravelins, half-moons, and such 
trumpery ' ; they contain the personal impressions 
and acute reflections of a cultivated man of the 
world, well read in Eastern literature,* a close and 
curious observer, quick in perception, a discerning 
judge of persons, and a devoted lover of nature ; one, 
moreover, who was well able to express his thoughts 
and observations in clear and vigorous language. 
'His autobiography,' says a sound authority 1 , 'is 
one of those priceless records which are for all time, 
and is fit to rank with the confessions of St. Augustine 
and Rousseau, and the memoirs of Gibbon and 
Newton. In Asia it stands almost alone.' There is 
no doubt a vast deal of dreary chronicle in the 
Memoirs, much desultory trifling, some repetition, 
and needlessly minute descriptions of secondary 
characters and incidents ; the first part is infinitely 
better than the end; but with all this, the shrewd 
comments and lively impressions which break in 
upon the narrative give Babar' s reminiscences a 
unique and penetrating flavour. The man's own 

1 Mr. H. Beveridge, Calcutta Rev., 1897. 


character is so fresh and buoyant, so free from con- 
vention and cant, so rich in hope, courage, resolve, 
and at the same time so warm and friendly, so very 
human, that it conquers one's admiring sympathy. 
The utter frankness of self-revelation, the unconscious 
portraiture of all his virtues and follies, his obvious 
truthfulness and fine sense of honour, give the 
Memoirs an authority which is equal to their charm. 
If ever there were a case when the testimony of 
a single historical document, unsupported by other 
evidence, should be accepted as sufficient proof, it 
is the case with Babar's Memoirs. No reader of 
this prince of autobiographers can doubt his honesty 
or his competence as witness and chronicler. 

Very little is known about the mode in which 
they were composed. That they were written at 
different dates, begun at one time and taken up 
again after long intervals, as leisure or inclination 
suggested, is to be inferred from the sudden way 
in which they break off, generally at a peculiarly 
critical moment, to be resumed without a word of 
explanation at a point several years later. The style, 
moreover, of the later portions is markedly different 
from that of the earlier, whilst the earlier portions 
bear internal evidence of revision at a later date. 
The natural (though conjectural) inference is that 
the Memoirs were written at various dates ; that the 
earlier part was revised and enlarged after Babar's 
invasion of India, though memory failed or time was 
wanting to fill the gaps ; and that the later part 


remains in its original form of a rough diary because 
its author died before he had leisure or energy to 
revise it. The Memoirs were written in Turki, 
Babar's native tongue. A copy of the work was 
in his cousin Haidar's hands, who probably obtained 
it during his visit to India within ten years of its 
author's death. Another copy, which appears to 
be the original of all the existing manuscripts, was 
transcribed from an original in Babar's own hand- 
writing by his eldest son, the Emperor Humayun, in 
1553, as is stated in an interpolation by Humayun 
in the body of the work 1 . That the son was a faith- 
ful copyist is evident, for he has not suppressed 
several passages in which his own conduct is cen- 
sured by his father. 

The Memoirs were more than once translated from 
Turki into Persian ; notably, with scrupulous accu- 
racy, by the illustrious Mirza Abdu-r-Rahim, son of 
Bairam Khan, in 1590, by the desire of the Emperor 
Akbar. The close agreement, even in trifling details, 
of the various Turki and Persian manuscripts pre- 
served in several collections, shows that the original 
text has been faithfully respected, and such varia- 
tions as exist do not affect the essential accuracy 
of the document. Even the gaps in the narrative un- 
fortunately occur at the same places and for the same 
intervals in all the manuscripts, Turki and Persian, 
with the exception of two or three short but inter- 
esting passages which one Turki text alone presents. 

1 Memoirs, Erskine and Leyden, 303 ; Pavet de Courteille, ii. 159. 


This text was printed at Kazan by M. Ilminski in 
1857, and was translated into French by M. Pa vet de 
Courteille in 187 1. Long before this, a translation 
into vigorous English, by John Leyden and William 
Erskine, based upon a collation of Persian and Turki 
manuscripts, and enriched with a valuable introduc- 
tion and copious notes, appeared in 1826, and has 
ever since held its place as the standard version 1 . 
It represents the Persian more than the Turki text, 
but how little the two differ, and how trifling are 
the emendations (save in Turki words and names) 
to be gained from the Turki version, may be seen 
by a comparison of the French and English trans- 

This comparison of two versions founded upon 
several manuscripts written in two languages brings 
us to the remarkable conclusion that Babar's Memoirs 
have come through the ordeals of translation and 
transcription practically unchanged. We possess, in 
effect, the ipsissima verba of an autobiography 
written early in the sixteenth century by one of 
the most interesting and famous men of all Asia. It 
is a literary fact of no little importance. The line 
of Emperors who proceeded from Babar's loins is 
no more. The very name of Mongol has lost its in- 
fluence on the banks of Iaxartes ; the Turk is the 
servant of the Russian he once despised. The last 
Indian sovereign of Timiir's race ended his inglorious 

1 It was abridged by Mr. K. M. Caldecott, 1844, in a readable 
Life of Bdbar. 


career an exile at Rangoon; a few years later, the 
degenerate descendants of Chingiz Kaan submitted 
to the officers of the Tsar. The power and pomp 
of Babar's dynasty are gone ; the record of his life — 
the littera scripta that mocks at time — remains un- 
altered and imperishable. 



In 1494 Babar inherited the kingdom of Farghana 
from his father, 'Omar Shaikh, a son of Abti-Sa'id, 
the great-grandson of the Amir Timur or Tamerlane. 

A hundred years had passed since the Barlas Turk, 
in a series of triumphant campaigns, had made himself 
master of the western half of Asia, from Kashghar on 
the edge of the terrible mid- Asian desert, to the cliffs 
of the Aegean sea. He had driven the Knights of 
Rhodes out of their castle at Smyrna, and had even 
marched into India and sacked Delhi. In 1405 he 
was on his way to subdue China and set all the 
continent of Asia beneath his feet, when death inter- 
vened. Timur's conquests were too recent, too hasty 
and imperfect, to permit the organization of a settled 
empire. They were like a vast conflagration driven 
before the wind, which destroys the herbage for 
a while ; but when the flame has passed away, the 
earth grows green again. Many of the princes, who 
had fled before the blast of Timur's hurricane, came 
back to their old seats when the destroyer was 
departed ; and it was only over part of Persia and 



over the country beyond the Oxus that his descendants 
maintained their hold when that iron hand was stiff. 
Even there, a single century witnessed their universal 
downfall ; the fire had only left some embers, which 
smouldered awhile, but, lacking the kindling and 
stirring of the great incendiary, finally died out. 
After that, the sole relic of Timur's vast dominion 
was the little kingdom which an exiled prince of his 
own brave blood set up among the crags and passes 
of the Afghan hills, whence came the ' Great Moghuls ' 
and the glories of Delhi and Agra. 

Babar in exile founded a grandiose empire, but 
Babar in the home of his forefathers was but a little 
prince among many rivals. Every one of the numerous 
progeny of Timur was a claimant to some throne. 
Mawarannahr or Transoxiana — the land of the two 
great rivers, Oxus and Iaxartes, the Amu and Sir 
Darya of to-day — was a cockpit for the jealousy and 
strife of a multitude of petty princes, who, whether 
they called themselves Mirzas in Persian, or Khans 
in Turki, or plain Amirs in Arabic, resembled one 
another closely in character and ambition. The cha- 
racter was ' earthly, sensual, devilish ' ; the ambition 
was to grasp power and wealth, quocunque modo rem, 
at the sacrifice of kindred, faith, and honour. 

Over this crew of scheming adventurers, the King 
of Samarkand endeavoured to maintain some show of 
authority. This was Sultan Ahmad Mirza 1 , Babar 's 

1 Sultan was a common title among Turkish and Persian princes 
and nobles, and did not imply the supreme sovereignty of an 


uncle, a weak easy-going toper, managed by his Begs 
or nobles. He represented the central power of Timur's 
empire, but he represented a shadow. Further east, 
from his citadel of Hisar, Ahmad's brother Mahmud 
ruled the country of the Upper Oxus, Kunduz, and 
Badakhshan, up to the icy barrier of the Hindu Kush. 
A third brother, Ulugh Beg, held Kabul and Ghazni ; 
and a fourth, Babar's father, 'Omar Shaikh, was King 
of Farghana, or as it was afterwards called Khokand. 
His capital was Andijan, but he was staying at the 
second city, Akhsi, when happening to visit his 
pigeons in their house overhanging the cliff, on 
June 9, 1494, by a singular accident the whole building 
slid down the precipice, and he fell ingloriously to 
the bottom 'with his pigeons and dovecote, and 
winged his flight to the other world.' Besides these 
four brothers, Sultan Husain Baikara, a cousin four 
times removed, ruled at Herat, with much state and 
magnificence, what was left of the Timurid empire in 
Khurasan, from Balkh near the Oxus to Astarabad 
beside the Caspian sea. 

These were the leading princes of Timur's race at 
the time of Babar's accession ; but they do not exhaust 
the chief sources of political disturbance. Further east 
and north the Mongol tribes, still led by descendants 
of Chingiz Kaan, mustered in multitudes in their 

Osmanli Sultan. Mirza after a name connotes royal blood. In 
general the full style, such as Sultan Mahmud Mirza, &c, will here 
be curtailed to the essential name Mahmud, &c, or Mahmud Mirz£ 
when a distinction is needed from Mahmud Khan. 

B % 


favourite grazing steppes. Yiinus Khan, their chief, 
who owed his position to Babar's paternal grand- 
father, had given three of his daughters in marriage 
to three of the brothers we have named, and one of 
them was the mother of Babar. The connexion in no 
degree hampered the Mongols' natural love of war, 
and Mahmiid Khan \ who had succeeded his father 
Yunus on the white pelt or coronation seat of the 
tribes, played a conspicuous part in the contests 
which distracted Babar's youth. Yet Mahmud Khan, 
for a Mongol, was a man of sedate and civilized 
habits, who abhorred the rough life of the tents, and 
held his court in the populous city of Tashkend, 
a little north of his nephew's dominions. His defection 
sorely galled the Mongol patriots, but fortunately his 
younger brother Ahmad Khan had his full share of 
the national passion for the wastes, and to him was 
drawn the fealty of the clans who retained their 
primitive customs in the plains to the east of Far- 
ghana. He, too, mixed in the struggles of the time, 
and like his brother Mahmud fixed his eyes on Samar- 
kand, the stately capital of Timur, whilst both felt 
the Mongol's fierce delight in mere fighting. 

Besides these chiefs who were entitled, by descent 
from Chingiz or Timur, to wrangle over their inherit- 
ance, there were many minor nobles who had no such 

1 The Turkish title Khan distinguishes these Mongol chiefs from 
their Persianated relations in Transoxiana. Thus Mahmud Khan 
was Babar's maternal uncle, of Tashkend; Mahmud Mirzd was 
Babar's paternal uncle, of Hisar. 


title, but, like the Dughlat Amirs of Kashghar and 
Uratipa — Mongols of blue blood — or the Tarkhans of 
Samarkand, came of a privileged family, and, if not 
the rose, were so near it that they often plucked its 
petals. And beyond these, like a cloud on the horizon, 
gathered the Uzbeg tribes of Turkistan and Otrar, on 
the lower Iaxartes r — soon to overshadow the heritage 
of Timur, and under their great leader, Shaibani Khan, 
to become the most formidable power on the Oxus, — 
the one power before which even Babar turned and 

In the midst of the confusion and strife of so many 
jarring interests, the child of eleven suddenly found 
himself called upon to play the part of king. Of his 
earlier years hardly anything is known. He was 
born on the 6th of Muharram, 888, St. Valentine's 
day, 1483 1 . A courier was at once sent to bear the 
good news to his mothers father, Yiinus, the Khan 
of the Mongols, and the grand old chief of seventy 
years came to Farghana and joined heartily in the 
rejoicings and feasts with which they celebrated the 

1 'Omar Shaikh had three sons and five daughters by five of his 
wives and concubines : 

'Omar Shaikh = 
= Kutluk Nigar Kha- =Fatima = Umaid Aghaoha = Agha — Sultan 

mini (Mongol, dan. of Sultan (concubine, of Andijan) Sultan Makhdum 

Yiinus Kh4n), d. 1505 (Mongol) 

I . I 

(concu- Karaguz 
bine) (concu- 

Khanz^da Zahfr-ad-din Jahangir Mihrb&nu Nasir Shehrbdnu Yddgdr Rukhiya 

Begum, Muhammad Mirza, Begum, Mirza, Begum, Sultan Sultan 

b. 1478. BABAR, b. 1485. b. 1478. b. 1487. b. 1491. Begum, Begum, 

b. Feb. 14, 1483. b. posth. b.posth. 

1494. 1494. 


shaving of his grandson's head. As the ill-educated 
Mongols could not pronounce his Arabic name — 
Zahir-ad-din Muhammad — they dubbed him 'Babar.' 
At the age of five, the child was taken on a visit to 
Samarkand, where he was betrothed to his cousin 
'Aisha, the infant daughter of Sultan Ahmad ; and 
during this visit, on the occasion of a great wedding, 
Babar was sent to pluck the veil from the bride, for 
good luck. The next six years must have been spent 
in education, and well spent, for he had little leisure 
in after years to improve himself, and his remarkable 
attainments in the two languages he wrote imply 
steady application. Of this early training we hear 
nothing, but it is reasonable to suppose that an im- 
portant part of it was due to the women of his family. 
The Mongol women«retained the virtues of the desert, 
unspoiled by luxury or by Muhammadanism. They 
were brave, devoted, and simple ; and among the 
constant references in Babars Memoirs to the almost 
universal habit of drunkenness among the men, we 
find but one solitary allusion — evidently a reproach — 
to a woman ' who drank wine.' The women of Babar's 
Mongol blood clung to him through all his troubles 
with devoted fortitude, though his Turkish wives 
deserted him ; and their sympathy in later life must 
have been the result of tender association in childhood. 
Above them all, his grandmother, Isan-daulat 
Begum, the widow of Yiinus, stood pre-eminent. ' Few 
equalled her in sense and sagacity,' her grandson says ; 
6 she was wonderfully far-sighted and judicious ; many 


important matters and enterprises were undertaken 
at her instance.' The story told of her when her 
husband fell into the hands of his enemy reveals 
a Spartan character. The conqueror had allotted her 
to one of his officers, though Yunus was living. The 
Begum, however, offered no objection, but received 
her new bridegroom affably. The moment he was in 
her room, she had the doors locked, and made her 
women servants stab him to death, and throw his 
body into the street. To the messenger who came 
from the conqueror to learn the meaning of this, she 
said : 'I am the wife of Yunus Khan. Shaikh Jamal 
gave me to another man, contrary to law ; so I slew 
him ; and the Shaikh may slay me too if he pleases.' 
Struck by her constancy, Jamal restored her in all 
honour to her husband, whose prison she shared for 
a year, till both were freed. 

This great lady was a rock of strength to her 
grandson in the years of his premature kingship. He 
was at the Pavilion of the Four Gardens at Andijan 
when the news of his father's sudden death reached 
him, in June, 1494. His first thought was to make 
himself sure of the capital before a brother, an uncle, 
or some disloyal Beg should take the chance and 
seize it. He instantly mounted his horse, called a 
handful of his followers, and rode to the citadel — the 
vital point to secure. As he drew near, one of his 
officers caught his rein, and bade him beware of 
falling into a trap. How could he tell whether the 
garrison were loyal? He was turning aside to the 


terrace, to await overtures, when the Begs who held 
the citadel sent a message of welcome by one of those 
Khwajas or holy men whose word was as sacred as 
their influence was profound in the politics of the day. 
Babar entered the citadel as king, and they all set to 
work without delay to put the fortress into a state 
of defence. 

It was not a moment too soon. The little kingdom 
was menaced on three sides by invasions bequeathed 
by his hasty-tempered father. Two uncles were 
already on the march to seize the throne : they had 
agreed that their quarrelsome brother, 'Omar Shaikh, 
had become unbearable, and though he had mean- 
while made his singular exit from life through the 
dovecote, they did not change their plans. Ahmad 
Mirza advanced from Samarkand ; his brother-in-law 
Mahmiid Khan from Tashkend. Uratipa, Khojend, 
and Marghinan, in rapid succession opened their gates 
to Ahmad, and he was close to Andijan at the very 
time when Babar got into the castle. Resistance 
seemed hopeless, and the boy sent an embassy of sub- 
mission, protesting that he was his invader's c servant 
and son,' and begging to be allowed the rank of viceroy 
over the land where by right he was king. The 
overture was harshly repelled, and the advance con- 
tinued. Fortunately for Babar, a river lay between, 
a black and turbid stream with a slimy bottom. On 
the narrow bridge the enemy pressed too eagerly, and 
many fell over and were drowned. The croakers 
recalled a disaster that had happened once before to 


an army on that very bridge in just the same way. 
Panic seized the superstitious troopers, and they could 
not be induced to move forward. The horses, too, 
were done up, and sickness broke out in the camp. 
Ahmad was no man to face an emergency. He made 
terms with Babar, retaining the cities he had taken, 
and ingloriously made his way homewards, only to 
die on the road. 

Mahmud Khan, meanwhile, had annexed the northern 
town of Kasan and was laying siege to Akhsi, the 
second city of the kingdom. Here he met with an 
unexpected resistance : the fort was stoutly defended 
by the Begs of Babar 's father, and Mahmud, after 
several assaults, retired to his own country. He was 
more celebrated for beginning than for achieving 
a campaign. A third invader, the Dughlat Amir of 
Kashghar and Khotan, seized Uzkend, and built a 
fortress to secure it ; but Babar's men had little 
trouble in dislodging him. 

The danger was over, but not the loss. Babar was 
now indeed king of Farghana, but his kingdom was 
shrunk to the eighty miles of rivage between Andijan 
and Akhsi. The rest had to be won back from his 
powerful neighbours. For many years he never lost 
sight of this object. His dearest ambition was, not 
only to recover his father's realm, but to seat himself 
at Samarkand on the throne of his great ancestor 
Timur. This was the grande idee to which he 
devoted his youth and early manhood. 

To those who imagine the country beyond the Ox us 


to be a desert dotted with ruins buried in sand, it may 
seem an idle dream. They forget that the great 
provinces, known to the Greeks and Romans as Sog- 
diana, Margiana, and Bactriana, were a favoured 
part of Alexander's empire, where more than one 
Alexandria marked the conqueror's path. Samarkand, 
Bukhara, and Balkh were famous cities of antiquity, 
and throughout the middle ages they were renowned 
for wealth and commerce, and not less for learning 
and the arts. The Persian Samanids had held their 
splendid court there ; Timur had enriched Samarkand 
with the spoils of his universal conquests ; he had 
brought skilled craftsmen and artists from the utter- 
most parts of Asia to build him ' stately pleasure 
domes ' and splendid mosques ; and his capital became 
one of the most beautiful as it had long been one of 
the most cultivated cities of the East. Science had 
found a home in the Oxus province since Farabi the 
philosopher and Farghani the astronomer pursued 
their researches there in the ninth century ; and 
Timtir's grandson, Ulugh Beg, carried on the tradition 
by building the observatory at Samarkand where his 
famous star tables were drawn up for the perpetual 
information of astronomers. The incomparable Avi- 
cenna himself was a Bukhariote. 

Centres of learning are usually centres of plenty. 
Men of science do not burrow like conies in the desert 
rocks : they live where the toils of learning may be 
alleviated by the comforts that attend wealth. The 
country about the two great rivers and their tributary 

farghAna 27 

streams was one of the most fertile in Asia. Farghana 
itself was prodigal of fruit and laden with heavy har- 
vests. Abundantly watered by the Sir, and sheltered 
on all sides from the outer world by fostering hills — 
save where a gap to the south-west opened out towards 
Samarkand — the little province, smaller than Ireland, 
was a garden, an orchard, a vineyard. Grapes and 
melons ripened to perfection at Andijan, innumerable 
mills plashed in the watercourses and ground the 
grain yielded by the generous earth. The beautiful 
gardens of Ush, a day's march to the south, were gay 
with violets, tulips, and roses in their seasons, and 
between the brooks the cattle browsed on the rich 
clover meadows. At Marghinan, a little to the west, 
the third city of Farghana, grew such apricots and 
pomegranates that a man would journey from afar to 
taste them : many years after he was banished from 
his land, Babar recalled with a sigh the flavour of the 
dried apricots stuffed with almonds which were so 
good at Marghinan. The luscious pomegranates of 
Khojend were not to be despised, but the melons of 
Akhsi — who could resist the melons of Akhsi, which 
had not their equal in the world, not even in the 
spreading melon fields of Bukhara ? If he thought of 
the apricots of Marghinan in the days of his exile, 
Babar suffered the dreams of a Tantalus when he 
remembered the lost joys of the melons of Akhsi. But 
there was more sustaining food than melon-pulp 
among the hills and woods of his native land. The 
pastures nourished herds of cattle, sheep and goats cut 


their devious tracks on the mountain sides, pheasants, 
white deer, hares, wild goats, gave sport to the 
hunter and his hawk. Farghana indeed was a land 
of milk and honey, an oasis of plenty between the 
deserts of Khiva and the Takla Makau. The snow- 
capped hills that clipped it tempered its climate, and 
during the heats of summer welcomed its inhabitants 
to their cool retreats. 

The people with whom the child-king was to dwell 
were of mixed race and varied character. The old 
Persian sons of the soil still formed the mass of the 
population, and tilled the earth for their masters ; but 
they were of so little political account that they were 
known as 'strangers,' tdjiks, much as the Saxons 
miscalled the ancient Britons ' Welsh.' The Tajiks 
were the hewers of wood and drawers of water for 
their Mongol and Turkish conquerors. In the towns 
the same Persian race, under the name of Sarts, formed 
the trading class, and performed the part of general 
utility. The ruling race was a mixture of those 
tribes which from time immemorial have migrated 
from the central steppes and swept over the lands 
which other folk had made ready for them. They 
comprised people of the Turkish nations, Uighurs, 
Naimans, Karluks, with Mongols proper and Kalmaks. 
When a Khan conquered another Khan he usually 
took his daughter or widow to wife, and the result 
of this constant crossing was the gradual obliteration 
of the distinctive characteristics of race among the 
upper classes. Yiinus Khan, for example, a Mongol 


by paternal descent, who ought to have been smooth- 
cheeked with Mongolian features, was described as 
having ' a full beard and a Tajik face,' and doubtless 
he was one of many similar cross-breeds. 

Babar himself was through his mother a grandson 
of Yunus, and a descendant of the great Mongol 
Chingiz Kaan, but on his father's side he came down 
from Timur, the Barlas Turk. The Mongols called 
him and his kindred ' Chaghatais,' but he always 
called himself a Turk, and spoke of the Mongols with 
superb contempt. The Indian empire of the ' Great 
Moghuls ' had not then restored honour to the name, 
and the Mongols of the pastoral steppes east and 
north of Farghana must certainly have appeared an 
uncouth race to the comparatively polished gentlemen 
of the towns, who wrote charming Persian odes, and 
had a horror of the discomforts of the deserts. These 
town 'Turks' (as we must call them, despite their 
mixed breed) occupied themselves with the pleasures 
and profits of a governing class. They were intelli- 
gent, often cultivated, brave, and energetic ; they were 
also cruel, vicious, and treacherous. As liars they 
had few equals. They could rarely be trusted if any- 
thing was to be gained by betrayal. 

The Memoirs contain some spirited portraits of the 
men among whom Babar spent his early years. We 
can see his father, 'Omar Shaikh, almost as clearly 
as if we had met him : a short ' podgy ' monarch, 
with stubbly brown beard, carelessly dressed, and apt 
to burst his coat strings in moments of energy or 


repletion; an assiduous toper, taking kindly to malt 
liquor, and poppy juice and bhang, but hardly steady 
in nerve after his two regular drinking bouts a week. 
A strong man, nevertheless, who never struck out but 
he floored his man ; something of a poet, too, who 
could turn out a fair copy of verses, and delighted in 
reading the Shdh JS T dma ; in character honest to a fault, 
but hasty in temper and policy, and too ready to 
' change peace for war, and friendship for hatred/ 
' His generosity was large,' says his son, ' and so was 
his whole soul : he was of a rare humour, genial, 
eloquent, and sweet in his discourse, yet brave withal 
and manly.' His weakness, besides the bottle, was 

His court held men of many turns. There was 
Babar's tutor, Shaikh Mazid, ' a great disciplinarian ' 
over others, but himself unbridled in sensual abomina- 
tions. Khwaja Husain was a good-tempered easy- 
going fellow, of simple habits, who sang a capital song 
when the* wine was going round. He had a genial 
comrade in Hasan Yakiib Beg, who could reel off an 
ode, was inimitable at leap-frog, played a good game 
at polo, and was altogether a frank, good-humoured, 
clever, handy man. They were not all thus, for 'Ali 
Majid is described bluntly as ' a vicious, treacherous, 
good-for-nothing hypocrite ' ; and the Grand Hunts- 
man, who pretended to sorcery, was a disagreeable, 
sour-faced, conceited boor, whose vulgarity and in- 
sincerity were matched by his meanness and greed of 
gold. The Great Seal made a pleasing contrast, 'a 


most witty and humoursome personage — but reckless 
in debauch.' Kambar 1 c Ali, once a skinner by trade, 
seemed to have his wits but skin-deep : ' he talked 
a great deal, and very idly — a great talker can't help 
saying foolish things at times — his talents were nar- 
row, and he had a muddy brain.' In spite of this 
unfortunate peculiarity, Kambar f Ali served his un- 
complimentary master well at many a pinch. 

One of Babars best sketches is of his uncle Ahmad, 
the King of Samarkand, who so nearly swallowed up 
his nephew's inheritance. He was a true Turk, ' tall, 
ruddy, and corpulent,' bearded only on the chin, and 
particular about the lie of his turban, which he always 
wore in the four-plait fashion with the hitch over the 
eyebrow. He was scrupulously devout, never omit- 
ting the regulation-prayers, even between the de- 
canters, and his veneration for his Khwaja or spiritual 
director was such that he would not think of un- 
crossing his leg, were it never so cramped, whilst they 
were engaged in serious discourse. Only once did he 
break this rule, and then it was found that the king 
had been sitting by chance upon a bone — some relic 
of a royal banquet — in sore discomfort. He was not 
intellectual, one must admit, and did not read at all ; 
for a town-bred Turk he was conspicuously illiterate 
and unrefined ; genius had not been lavish to him : 
but he had the virtues of his defects, he was a plain 
honest Turk, a man of few words, just and true in his 

1 Written Kanbar, but pronounced Kambar ; so Tanbal, TambaJ, 
further on. 


dealings, faithful to his treaty, and never swerving 

by a line from his covenant. 

His words were bonds, his oaths were oracles, 
His heart as far from fraud as heaven from earth. 

He was a sportsman, moreover, of rare skill, such as 
had not been known since Ulugh Beg forgot the 
intricacies of astronomy in the excitement of the chase. 
Hawking was his favourite sport, and seldom did his 
goshawk miss the quarry. He was a famous archer, 
and a sure marksman when taking a galloping shot 
at the Mongolian popinjay — a platter set upon a pole. 
So modest and discreet were his manners that he was 
never known to let his bare foot peep out from 
beneath his robes, even in private : yet ' he would 
drink day and night without a break for twenty or 
thirty days on end,' not indeed in morose solitude, 
but in full court, toping jovially among his Begs. 
Then for an equal interval he would abstain, and 
comfort his stomach with pungent delicacies, to restore 
its tone. Unfortunately he had no will of his own, 
and his boonfellows, who were also his ministers, led 
him as they pleased, so that he found himself plunged 
into adventures to which his sober judgement — when 
it was so — would not have committed him. But 
Ahmad Mirza's drinking days were nearly over at the 
date when this history begins. He died on his way 
home from his invasion of Babar's country, and in the 
struggles that ensued the young prince soon began to 
play a conspicuous part. 


Samarkand Won and Lost 

In reading the story of Babar's adventures, two 
reflections at once arise : in no country or period 
of history was the influence more obvious of the 
sentiment or ' divinity ' that ' doth hedge a king,' and 
seldom has a king's personal character responded 
more generously to the homage. The long obedience 
of the patient East set a halo of reverence around the 
youthful sovereign, without which even his indomit- 
able spirit could scarcely have asserted itself; but 
this obedience of the dumb animal, this time-honoured 
respect for inherited authority, was transformed among 
the masses into something like enthusiastic devotion 
by the brave and noble qualities of the boyish hero. 
Babar possessed a power of winning hearts, which 
stood him in good stead with the many, even when 
his influence waned among the chiefs. 

It seems absurd to treat a child of twelve as if he 
were a ruler of men, and it would be idle to deny 
a share in the result to his more mature advisers. 
But we have seen the characters of some of the men who 
formed his father's court and afterwards constituted 



the 'ministry' of the youthful heir, and it is not 
reasonable to suppose that such men, of their own 
initiative, could have planned what was demonstrably 
achieved in Babar' s 'teens.' Most of them, as will 
appear, were corrupt and self-seeking, and the higher 
their rank and talents the less trustworthy they 
became. A sufficient bribe, an opening for power 
or plunder, or the mere prudence that might save 
their skin, promoted ' hedging,' and led them to desert 
their master in critical emergencies. 

Ministers and commanders changed, hesitated, in- 
trigued, forsook him, but Babar remained steadfast. 
He used their service as long as they yielded it, but 
if they chose to desert him he had the gift to supply 
their place. When almost all abandoned him, and 
none believed in his star, Babar never lost faith. His 
serene constancy of purpose, his noble fortitude, are 
the only invariable elements in the vicissitudes of his 
early life, the one unfailing antidote to the poison of 
intrigue. Making every allowance for the temporary 
and often time-serving assistance of his shifty Begs, 
we must admit that, despite his absurd youthfulness, 
the prime cause of his early successes was Babar 
himself. After all, a boy in the East has often shown 
signs of precocious ability. Akbar was not fourteen 
when he came to the throne ; Sulaiman the Great was 
intrusted with high commands in his youth ; and 
Babar was but another example of rapid development. 

How little even the best among his officers could be 
trusted was shown when he had hardly mounted the 


throne. The pleasant-spoken adept at leap-frog, the 
delight of the polo-field, Hasan Ya'kub, who had been 
made prime minister, almost regent, of the realm, 
began an intrigue to crown Babar's younger brother 
Jahangir, as a readier tool to his own ambition, — or 
to that of his fellow-conspirator, the new King of 
Samarkand. He forgot that he had to reckon with 
a shrewd old woman. Babar's grandmother scented 
the plot, and the agile minister had to take to his 
heels ; on his way to Samarkand he fell in a skirmish, 
' a sacrifice to his own misdeeds,' shot by a chance 
arrow by his own men. The episode evidently made 
an impression on the little king, who seems to have 
taken his responsibilities seriously, and set himself 
to live by rule : ' This year,' he says, ' I began to 
abstain from forbidden and doubtful meats, and 
extended my precautions to the knife, the spoon, and 
the table-cloth. I also seldom omitted my midnight 

It was a time when a man might well set his house 
in order. A period of anarchy, worse even than the 
disorders of the late reign, was at hand. Ahmad 
Mirza had been followed at Samarkand by his brother 
Mahmud, and the change was immediately felt. The 
new king was a cruel tyrant, the murderer of his 
own kin, an unbeliever, and a shameless debauchee. 
Ahmad's jovial indiscretions were forgotten in face of 
the frantic orgies of the new court, where buffoons 
played obscene pranks in the public gaze, and acted 
in mimicry the disgusting scenes which were too 

c 2 


literally enacted in private. The whole city became 
corrupt ; no child was safe ; the army was a hotbed 
of profligacy, and decency was openly defied. Fortu- 
nately the new king died in six months ; but if morals 
were relieved, anarchy still rioted in the struggles 
of his sons and kindred for the throne. Every one 
sought to grasp whatever he could reach. In 1495 
Samarkand was threatened by four separate invasions. 
Sultan Husain of Herat crossed over from Persia ; one 
son of Mahmud advanced in force from Hisar ; another 
hurried up from Bukhara ; and Babar, not to be left 
out of the race, recovered Asfara and Khojend, and 
set his face towards the capital. Nothing came of it 
that year, beyond an agreement which recalls the 
treaty of Tilsit. Babar and his cousin, Sultan 'Ali, 
distrustful of each other, and guarding against surprise, 
met on horseback in the middle of the river Kohik, 
and swore to join hands in an attack on Samarkand 
in the following year. 

Accordingly, in May, 1497, Babar marched on 
Samarkand ; his ally did not appear, but this did not 
discourage him. He pitched his camp near the city, 
and soon found that the tajik inhabitants were not 
indisposed to welcome him. 'A number of traders 
and others came from the town, and began buying 
and selling. One day, about afternoon prayers, there 
was suddenly a general hubbub, and the whole of 
these Muslims were plundered. Yet such was the 
discipline of my army that, on my issuing an order 
that no one should presume to detain any of the 


things that had been seized, but that the whole should 
be restored without reserve before the end of the first 
watch next day, there was not a piece of thread or 
a broken needle that was not restored to its owner.' 
Thenceforward Babar had the people on his side. 
They flocked to his camp, till it rivalled in popula- 
tion the capital itself. But Mahmud's son Baisanghar 
made a sturdy defence, and many hot skirmishes took 
place in the shady Khiydbdn beneath the walls. 
Shaibani Khan was induced to bring his Uzbegs from 
Turkistan to relieve the city ; but when Babar formed 
up to receive the attack, the Uzbegs thought better of 
the adventure and went home. At last Baisanghar, 
'followed by two or three hundred hungry, naked 
wretches,' fled from the besieged city, and Babar 
entered Samarkand in triumph. This was at the end 
of November, 1497, when Vasco da Gama was finding 
his way towards Calicut. 

The young conqueror rode to the ' Garden Palace,' 
where the three estates, the nobles, the divines, and 
the people, paid him homage. He had his heart's 
desire ; he sat in the throne of Timur, in the seat 
of Alexander ' of the two Horns.' Samarkand, the 
dream of his life, was his. He must ' mark well her 
bulwarks,' take stock of her treasures ; he paced the 
spreading ramparts himself, and found them 10,600 
paces in circuit ; he wandered from palace to palace, 
from pleasaunce to pleasaunce. The whole land, as 
far as Bukhara, seemed one great garden, full of fruits 
and crops, and teeming with busy workers. The Kohik 


watered the north side of the city, that fertilizing stream 
which is now well named Zar-afshan, 'gold-diffusing' ; 
on the south ran the Dargham; frequent canals joined 
the two. In the demesnes watered by these many 
streams the Kings of Samarkand had built pleasure- 
houses, and often they would camp in the fine weather 
on some soft rich meadow, which they screened from 
public gaze, and converted for the time into a royal 
pleasaunce. East of the city were ' Perfect Garden ' 
and 'Heart's Delight' — the Trianon of Tamerlane, 
adorned with paintings of his Indian wars. In the 
citadel stood the £ Blue Palace,' where every sovereign 
was enthroned, and where deposed kings were sent to 
their doom ; so that ' to visit the Guksarai ' became 
an ominous metaphor. 

Tinmr's mosque stood hard by the Iron Gate ; 
skilled masons and sculptors from Hindustan and 
Persia and Asia Minor had set their hands to the 
building, and the colossal inscription from the Koran 
over the gate testified to the orthodoxy of the ' Scourge 
of God.' Near the stone fort is a college, and here lie 
the bones of Timur and his descendants, the Kings of 
Samarkand. Ulugh Beg's observatory, three stories 
high, full of the astronomical instruments of the age, 
overlooked the city from the Hill of Kohik, and in 
the ' Garden of the Alameida,' at the foot of this hill, 
rose the tower of the Forty Pillars, Ghihil Situn, 
with its hall and open galleries, raised on twisted 
and fluted columns. In another garden the ' China 
House' was lined with tiles from Cathay, and the 


1 Echo Mosque ' perpetually stirred the wonder of the 
holiday folk, who could not fathom its mysterious 
reverberations. The gardens of Samarkand, with 
their wealth of melons, apples, pomegranates, and 
above all the Sdhibi grapes, were famed far and wide ; 
and the industries of its populace were exported to 
all lands. Each trade had its own bazar, and the 
best paper in the world and the finest crimson stuffs 
were to be found in its warehouses. 

For just a hundred days Babar revelled in the 
delights of his beautiful city, and then he lost it. 
His troops had counted on a handsome booty, but 
they found a starving town. ' Samarkand,' he 
wrote, ' had been taken after a hard and trying siege 
of seven months. On its capture, indeed, the soldiers 
took plenty of spoil ; but the rest of the country had 
joined me or Sultan 'AH of its own accord, and of 
course had not been given over to plunder. . . Samar- 
kand was in so distressed a state when we took it that 
we had to supply the inhabitants with seed-corn and 
food to help them to carry on till the harvest. How 
could one levy taxes from so exhausted a land ? My 
troops were thus brought to much distress, and I had 
nothing to give them. They began to think of home ; 
they deserted one by one. . . All the Mongols deserted ; 
and at last Ahmad Tambal himself [a leading Beg, 
who had been highly honoured and rewarded] took 
himself off and left me.' Babar found himself almost 
alone, with but a thousand followers ; to add to his 
misfortunes he fell ill. For four days he was speech- 


less, and took no nourishment ; only his attendants 
moistened his tongue with a piece of wet cotton. 

Meanwhile Tambal and the other deserters had 
openly revolted and set up Prince Jahangir on the 
throne of Farghana. Letter after letter was brought 
to Samarkand entreating Babar to come to the rescue 
of Andijan, where his mother and grandmother were 
closely besieged by the rebels. At last he was suffi- 
ciently recovered to set out ; but he had barely 
reached Khojend when he heard that the governor of 
Andijan, believing his sovereign dead, had surrendered 
the city. A messenger, who had been incautiously 
admitted to Babar's room at Samarkand during his 
illness, had found him speechless, and returning to 
Andijan, had naturally reported him to be in the very 
article of death. Deprived, as they thought, of their 
king, the garrison made terms with the enemy. They 
had even signalized their pact by hanging Babar's 
envoy, the holy Khwaja Kazi, over the gate of the 
citadel. It was an act of sacrilege, the martyrdom 
of a saint : 

' I have no doubt/ says Babar, ' that Khwaja Kazi was 
a saint. What better proof could be had than the single fact 
that in a short time of all who were concerned in his murder 
not a trace or vestige remained 1 They were absolutely 
extirpated. He was a wonderfully brave man — which is no 
mean proof of saintship. Other men, brave as they may be, 
have some little nervousness or trepidation in them : the 
Khwaja had not a particle of either/ 

Nor was this the worst ; as soon as Babar had left 


Samarkand, Sultan 'Ali occupied it. His kingdom 
had vanished at both ends. i For the sake of Andijan 
I had lost Samarkand, and I found I had lost the one 
without saving the other.' 

He made many attempts to recover both, but at first 
utterly in vain. He induced his uncle, Mahmud Khan 
(who had an eye on Farghana for himself), to march 
at the head of his Mongols to his support. The Khan, 
a poor soldier and worse general , but ever ready to do 
something, however futile, arrived before Akhsi, where 
he came to an understanding with the rebels, and 
turned back again. It was Babars last hope, and now 
he saw his own small army melting away. ' The Begs, 
captains, and troopers, many of them, had wives and 
children at Andijan ; they saw no chance of our 
regaining it ; and great and small, gentle and simple, 
to the number of seven or eight hundred men, left me 
altogether. . . Only two hundred or so of all ranks, 
good and bad, stuck to me, choosing voluntarily a life 
of exile and hardship.' After the brief triumph at 
Samarkand the contrast was too bitter even for his 
buoyant nature : ' I became a prey to melancholy and 
vexation,' he writes ; ' I was now reduced to a sore 
distressed state, and wept much.' 

He was now no king at all. His only possession 
was the little town of Khojend ; all the rest was in 
the hands of his enemies. Happily they had spared 
his family, and his mother and his brave old grand- 
mother now rejoined him. It was not in him to 
give way to despair : ' Filled as I was by the ambition 


of conquest and broad sway, one or two reverses could 
not make me sit down and do nothing.' 

What though the field be lost, 
All is not lost — the unconquerable will, 
And courage never to submit or yield. 

He went to Tashkend and borrowed Mongol troops 
from the Khan, with which he surprised and captured 
Nasukh, some forty miles from his little capital. In 
his worst troubles he was never so sad that he found 
no comfort in the gifts of nature, and with one of 
those naive touches which make his Memoirs so real, 
he notes that when he took Nasukh ' it was the 
season when the melons were ripe,' those delicious 
Isma'il Shaikhi melons, with a ' yellow skin, mottled 
like shagreen' — 'a wonderful delicate and toothsome 
melon,' he adds. His force was too small to hold his 
conquest, and he was obliged regretfully to abandon 
it, but still the success cheered him, and he returned 
to Khojend in better heart. It soon became clear, 
however, that he could not go on living there. The 
town was too small to support even his two hundred 
followers ; a mere Beg, he says, would not think it 
enough to maintain his retinue. To burden the 
inhabitants with himself and his small army was out 
of the question. His first plan was to borrow a village 
from the Dughlat ruler of Uratipa, and from that 
centre to subdue some of the mountain strongholds, 
half-way between Khojend and Samarkand. But this 
was on his cousin Sultan 'Ali's land, and he soon 


received peremptory notice to quit. So he buried 
himself among the Ailak hills, not knowing where to 
lay his head. 

It may seem strange that with so many kinsmen he 
should have had no refuge to turn to ; but, as the 
Turkish proverb has it, ' Kingship knows no kinship,' 
and his relations perceived in him a rival more dis- 
tinctly than a distressed cousin. On the north he 
had tried his uncle, the Khan, and found him 
wanting. Sultan c Ali had forgotten his cousinship 
in the satisfaction of possessing Samarkand, which 
Babar had won for him. To the east and south the 
cities were held by the man whom he abhorred above 
all mankind. This was Khusrau Shah, a Kipchak 
Turk, who had been Mahmud Mirza's chief minister, 
and after his master's death did as he pleased with 
the eastern part of the kingdom, about Hisar and 
Kunduz. up to the Hindu Kush. Other men found 
Khusrau liberal and generous, but Babar had an 
invincible dislike to him. ' Though he prayed regu- 
larly,' he writes, ' and abstained from forbidden foods, 
he was of a black heart and vicious, of mean under- 
standing and slender abilities, a perjured traitor. 
For the sake of the brief and fleeting pomp of this 
vain world, he blinded one and murdered another 
of his benefactor's sons, and made himself accursed 
of God, abhorred of men, and meet for shame and 
execration till the day of final retribution.' Khusrau 
had put out the eyes of Mas'iid, the son of his old 
master Mahmud, and after proclaiming another son, 


Baisanghar (the same whom Babar had driven out 
of Samarkand), king at Hisar, he murdered him ; 
though he had known both the youths from their 
infancy. 'Every day,' thundered Babar, 'every day 
to the day of judgement, may a hundred thousand 
curses light on the head of the man who plans or does 
treachery so black ; let all who hear of this deed of 
Khusrau Shah pour out curses on him ; for he who 
hears of such work and curses not is himself accursed.' 
Yet, like most tyrants, Khusrau was a coward : Babar 
despised him with his whole soul. In spite, he says, 
of his many and populous dominions, in spite of his 
army of five thousand men and his ample materials of 
war, ' he had not the pluck to face a barn-door fowl.' 
Shaibani Khan used to say he could frighten Khusrau 
away with a wave of his hand, ' like a fly from a 

To go to Khusrau was manifestly impossible, and 
there was no one else left. So Babar devoured his 
melancholy among the Ailak shepherds. Whilst he 
was meditating one day, 'perplexed and distracted 
with the hopeless state of his affairs,' a holy man, 
a friend of happier days, but now an exile and 
wanderer like himself, came and prayed and wept 
with him. That very afternoon a horseman appeared 
at the bottom of the valley. He came with a message 
that brought the prince to his feet in a moment. 
c Ali Dost, who had surrendered Andijan to the 
rebels, and had been rewarded with the government 
of the important city of Marghinan, sent to pray his 


sovereign's forgiveness, and offered to deliver up to him 
the city he governed, and to serve him faithfully till 
death. His conscience pricked him, and like many 
another he loved his young king when self-interest 
did not tempt him too much. 

Babar did not hesitate an instant ; no man was 
more prompt in his decision than this boy of fifteen. 
It was already sunset, but he started at once. All 
night and next day till noon he rode without drawing 
rein ; half a day's rest for the horses, and then they 
were off again at midnight, riding all day till dark ; 
and next morning Marghinan was seen about four miles 
off. Then for the first time it occurred to him that 
he had no warranty for c Ali Dost's good faith : the 
man ' had stickled at no crime,' and might easily play 
him false. It was like Babar to run his head into 
such a difficulty ; he acted first, and thought after- 
wards. But it was now too late to weigh risks : — 
1 We had passed three days and three nights without 
rest, and had come a hundred miles without a stop ' — 
a pardonable exaggeration — ' neither man nor horse 
had any strength left ; there was no possibility of 
retreat, nor any refuge to retreat to ; having come so 
far, on we must go. Nothing happens but by God's 
will.' So on they went, and were rewarded by a loyal 
welcome from the repentant governor. Babar and his 
two hundred and forty men were once more within 
strong walls. It was the ttov <tt& that he needed, 
whence to move the whole kingdom. 

The governor of Marghinan was indeed but the 


index to a general revulsion of feeling throughout 
Farghana. The country was groaning under the 
tyranny of the rebel Begs, and longed for a prince 
of the old stock. Even the enemy's soldiers began to 
desert to Babar ; the hill tribes mustered to his ox- 
tails ; Akhsi itself opened its gates to his officers. 
In vain the rebels sent a relieving party to hold the 
citadel of Akhsi. They missed the landing-place in 
the dusk, and were cut to pieces by the royalists, who 
stripped their mounts and, plunging bare-back into 
the river, made short work of the boats. The citadel 
flew the white flag. On this Andijan also declared 
for Babar, in June, 1499 ; Kasan followed : — Farghana 
once more obeyed its lawful king. 

The rebellion was scotched, however, not strangled. 
Babar had hardly recovered his kingdom when he did 
as foolish a thing as a restored exile could devise. 
Among his supporters were some thousands of Mon- 
gols, deserters from Tambal, and these men were a 
constant thorn in his side. They looted the villages, 
murdered and outraged the peaceful inhabitants, and 
gave trouble in every way. The people implored the 
king to deliver them from these scoundrels, and, 
moved by one of his imprudent impulses, he gave 
orders that the Mongols should make restitution. 
The measure would have been practicable only in 
a settled country with a strong army ; but in Far- 
ghana these Mongols were themselves the army, 
and to coerce them was at that time impossible. 
The immediate consequence was that four thousand 


Mongols mutinied and went over to the rebels. 
Babar repented too late. ' It was a senseless thing,' 
he wrote afterwards, ' to exasperate so many men 
with arms in their hands. In war and statecraft 
a thing may seem reasonable at first sight, but it 
should be weighed and considered in a hundred lights 
before it is finally decided. This ill-judged order of 
mine was in fact the ultimate cause of my second 
expulsion from Andijan.' 

Reinforced by these Mongols, Tambal, the rebel 
leader, took the offensive. Babar scoured the country 
to beat up recruits, and collected vast quantities of 
siege materials, scaling-ladders, turas (or siege shields), 
picks and spades. Tambal twice attacked Andijan, 
and was beaten off; the king went out in search of 
him towards Uzkend, and took the fort of Madu on 
the way. After this the two armies lay facing each 
other for a month or more. Babar made an en- 
trenched camp, protected by a zariba of brushwood, 
and posted his vedettes carefully. There were frequent 
skirmishes, and at last Tambal was forced to give 
battle. It was the young king's first set field, and he 
won a slight victory, pursuing and looting the enemy. 
It could not have been a serious defeat for Tambal, 
since we find the two forces constantly skirmishing 
all through the winter. Babar hutted his troops in 
cantonments near Nush-ab, and the excitements of 
war alternated with the pleasures of the chase. It 
was ' capital hunting-ground,' he says, ' and good 
cover for game. Near the river Ilamish, in the jungle, 


are mountain goats, buck, and wild pig in abundance. 
In the smaller jungle, scattered in clumps, we found 
plenty of jungle-fowl and hares. The foxes here are 
swifter than anywhere else. Whilst in these winter 
quarters I hunted every two or three days. First we 
beat up the larger forests for mountain goat and buck, 
which we chased, and then we hawked in the small 
jungle for jung]e-fowl, or shot them with forked 

The war, such as it was, grew more and more 
languid. The king gained no important advantage ; 
his troops grew weary, and insisted on returning 
home. He had to beat a retreat to Andijan, where 
he was forced by his officers to accept terms. The 
kingdom was divided : Babar was to keep the Andijan 
bank of the Sir, including Uzkend ; and his brother 
Jahangir, the tool of Tambal, was to hold the Akhsi 
bank. Prisoners were exchanged, and each retired to 
his capital. 

The fifteenth century had ended disastrously for 
Babar. He had lost Samarkand, had been driven 
into exile, harassed by a powerful rebellion, opposed 
by his brother, deserted by an army, hampered by 
discontented officers, and had after all only recovered 
a part of his kingdom, to hold it at the pleasure of his 
too powerful nobles. The treaty of the spring of 1500 
marks low water in his fortunes ; but he had not yeb 
sounded the lowest depths. 


Second Conquest of Samarkand 


When the two brothers made their treaty in the 
spring of 1500, there had been a talk of Samarkand, 
and they had agreed to join in conquering it; after 
which Babar consented to make over the whole of 
Farghana to Jahangir. In his worst straits the 
memory of the hundred days he had ruled in the 
capital of his ancestors never faded ; the grande idee 
was always in his thoughts ; he would be King of 
Samarkand. There was little attraction for him in 
his present sovereignty at Andijan, with successful 
rebels in power just across the river, and with e Ali 
Dost presuming upon his recent services and playing 
the king in the very palace. The governor of Andijan, 
who had once surrendered it to his enemies, thought 
he had more than atoned for his cowardice by giving 
the king his own again ; and he now acted the 
master, dismissed Babar's few trusty followers, and 
stripped him of all but the name of king. To resist 
was dangerous, with Tambal over the river ready 
to step in at the smallest encouragement. ' My case 
was singularly delicate, and I had to be silent. Many 



were the humiliations I suffered at that time,' and 
he was not one to suffer indignities patiently. 

An invitation from Samarkand came as a veritable 
godsend. The great family of the Tar khans, who had 
enjoyed special privileges and held high offices for 
generations, had fallen out with Sultan *Ali, and had 
been expelled from Samarkand. They had not for- 
gotten the cheery lad who had been their king for 
a hundred days, and they offered to help him to 
recover the throne of Timur. The chance of escape 
from his present humiliations was too good to be 
even discussed. Babar set out forthwith (June, 1500), 
in the absence of his keeper, 'Ali Dost, who, however, 
caught him up on the way, ' by mere chance and 
most opportunely,' according to the Memoirs, but 
one suspects that the Dost was anxious to keep an 
eye on his protege\ When they reached Uratipa, 
Kambar 'Ali turned up unexpectedly, 'barefoot and 
barehead,' having been chased out of his governments 
by Tambal, in flat violation of the treaty. Babar 
cannot suppress a Turki proverb at the expense of 
his ' muddy-brained ' follower. At Yurat-khan, a 
little way outside Samarkand, the chief Begs of the 
city, headed by the Tarkhans, met the king, and did 
homage. They brought word that Khwaja Yahya 
was on Babar's side, and if he co-operated, Samar- 
kand was as good as taken : such was the holy man's 
reputed influence. 

For once, however, it was overrated: Samarkand 
was not to be surprised this time, and Babar was 


forced to retire on Kish, while he saw the great Khan 
of the Uzbegs enter the coveted city in his stead. 
Shaibani had been admitted as an ally, by the in- 
fluence of its king's mother ; but he threw off the 
disguise as soon as he was inside, insulted the diplo- 
matic dowager, murdered Sultan 'Ali, and thus put 
an end to the dynasty of Timur in the Ox us country. 
Babar' s comments on his cousin's temporizing policy 
and punishment are characteristic: ' From over-anxiety 
to keep this mortal and transitory life, he left a name 
of infamy behind him ; by following the counsels of 
a woman, he struck himself out of the roll-call of the 
renowned. Words need not be wasted on such a 
creature or on such dastardly doings.' The gravamen 
of the offence, however, lay in Sultan ' Ali's preferring 
Shaibani to Babar. 

Once more the young adventurer found himself 
deserted. 'Ali Dost and his people were the first to 
leave. ' I had taken a rooted dislike to the man/ 
says the autobiographer, 'and partly from shame, 
partly for fear, he could not stay with me. He 
asked leave to go, and I granted it gladly.' A second 
time they joined the rebel Tambal, and came to an un- 
timely end : the Dost's son verified the proverb about 
the fate of traitors to their salt ; ' the salt caught his 
eyes/ literally, for he was blinded by the Uzbegs. 
After the entry of Shaibani the Samarkand worthies, 
who had pressed Babar to come, discarded him, and 
betook themselves to his bitter enemy Khusrau Shah 
at Hisar. The Khwaja who had plotted for his success 

D % 


was driven away and murdered by the Uzbegs. The 
young king was again a wanderer. He could not 
go back to his own land, where Tambal was now 
supreme ; Hisar and Samarkand were more hostile 
than ever ; and he resolved to seek a refuge once 
more among the friendly hills of Yar-Ailak. It was 
no easy journey. First he led his small army up 
the Kamrud valley, by dangerous tracks among the 
rocks, * and in the steep and narrow ways and gorges 
which we had to climb, many a horse and camel 
dropped and fell out. After four or five days we came 
to the col of Sar-i-Tak. This is a pass — and such 
a pass ! Never did I see one so narrow and steep, 
or follow paths so toilsome and strait. We pressed 
on, nevertheless, with incredible labour, through fear- 
ful gorges and by tremendous precipices, till, after 
a hundred agonies and losses, at last we topped those 
murderous steep defiles, and came down on the borders 
of Kan, with its lovely expanse of lake,' all the more 
lovely and peaceful to Babar's appreciative eyes after 
the horrid gloom of the mountain passes. Thence 
the banks of the Kohik led him to the Ailaks. 

Even now, he was not discouraged. He was a born 
soldier of fortune, and so long as he had a few hundred 
men at his back he was ready for any adventure. 
A short rest, a consultation with his Begs, and he was 
again on the march for Samarkand. Mad as the pro- 
ject seemed,- he had good reasons for the attack. If 
ever the imperial city was to be his, it must be before 
Shaibani had time to establish his power. At present 


he was newly arrived ; he had murdered the king, 
disgraced and banished the holy man, and must be 
detested by the inhabitants. He must not be given 
time to overcome their dislike ; he must not be 
allowed to take root. Fortunately he was encamped 
outside the city. If only Babar could get into 
Samarkand by a surprise, he was confident that 
the citizens would rally to his cause — to any cause 
but the Uzbegs. ' At all events,' he said, in his 
happy-go-lucky way, ' when once the city is taken, 
God's will be done.' The first attempt failed : they 
rode all day and reached Yiirat-Khan at midnight, 
only to find the garrison of Samarkand on the alert. 
Then, about November, acting on an auspicious 
dream, Babar tried again. This time the saintly 
Khwaja f Abd-al-Makarim rode beside him, and they 
made a rapid dash for Samarkand. Fourscore of 
his best men scaled the wall opposite c the Lover's 
Cave,' and seizing the Firuza Gate threw it open just 
as Babar galloped up with the main force. ' The city 
was asleep : only some shop-keepers, peeping out, 
discovered what had happened, and gave thanks to 
God. Soon the news spread, and the citizens with 
great joy and congratulations fraternized with my 
men. They chased the Uzbegs in every street and 
corner, hunting them down and killing them like 
mad dogs.' 

The city was won — won by a handful of two 
hundred and forty men. Babar took his seat under 
the great arch, and the people came to acclaim him, 


and (what he needed even more) brought him food. 
Then he mounted and rode pell-mell to the Iron Gate, 
where the Uzbegs were reported to be making a stand. 
The rabble, however, had done the business, and the 
enemy were flying for their lives. Just at this 
moment Shaibani himself rode up from his camp 
outside the city, with an escort of a hundred horse. 
' It was a splendid opportunity,' says Babar, ' but 
I had only a handful of men with me ' ; and so 
Shaibani got safely away, to work much mischief 
against him in years to come. But it was no time 
for forebodings, and Babar gave himself up to the 
intoxication of success. He was welcomed to his 
heart's content : never was triumph more popular ; 
the city was en fete, and the great men, nobles, and 
dignitaries came out and waited on his Majesty as 
he sat enthroned in the beautiful Garden Palace. 
' For almost one hundred and forty years Samarkand 
had been the capital of my family. A foreign robber, 
coming the Lord knows whence, had seized the sceptre 
that dropped from our hands. God most High now 
restored it, and gave me back my plundered deso- 
lated land/ 

They made a chronogram for the event, in the 
approved Oriental style : — 

Tell me, my soul, what is the year 1 
Babar Bahadur is conqueror here. 

The letters in Fdtih Babar Bahddur, taken as 
numbers, spell 906, the year of the Hijra in which 


Babar conquered Samarkand, or 1500 a. D. To add 
to his happiness, his mother and other women rela- 
tions joined him. They had followed him from 
Andijan, and suffered great privations ; but now all 
was well. The little 'Aisha, to whom he was be- 
trothed when a child, had become his wife at Khojend 
'during the troubles,' and at Samarkand she gave 
birth to his first child : they called the baby Fakhr- 
an-Nisa, the ' glory of her sex,' but ' in a month or 
forty days she went to partake of the mercy of God.' 
Babar was then just nineteen 1 , and he makes the odd 
confession, especially curious in an Eastern, that so 
far he had ' never conceived a passion for any woman, 
and indeed had never been so placed as even to hear 
or witness words of love or amorous discourse.' He 
admits that he did not love 'Ai'sha, and she had there- 
fore a fair excuse when she afterwards left him. 
Later on he fell really in love with her youngest 
sister ; but, so far as the records go, Babar seems to 
have been singularly insusceptible to the tender 
passion ; though — or because — no one was more at- 
tached to the women of his own blood, or more 
deferential to women in general. He had, however, 
a dread of a shrew, which may have been rooted 
in some marital experience. ' May Almighty God,' 
he fervently exclaims, 'preserve all good Muslims 
from such a visitation, and may no such thing as 

1 So he says, reckoning by lunar years ; if so, the child was born 
in July, 1501, just before Babar left Samarkand. He was under 
eighteen (solar years) when he conquered it. 


an ill-tempered cross-grained wife be left in the 
world ! ' 

The first step of the new King of Samarkand was 
to cultivate, as we should say, 'foreign relations.' 
He sent embassies to the neighbouring rulers, inviting 
their friendship and support against the growing 
power of the Uzbegs. The missions were a failure ; 
some refused all co-operation, others put him off 
with cold answers ; his brother Jahanglr, now King 
of Farghana, sent a paltry hundred men ; the Khan, 
his uncle, furnished a few hundred more ; Sultan 
Husain Mirza of Herat, the most powerful represen- 
tative of Timur's line, sent never a sword. Babar 
consoled himself now and then by ' composing a 
couplet or two, but did not venture on a complete 
ode.' In more practical moods he looked to the 
efficiency of his army, which was rapidly increasing. 
Most of the towns and villages of the province of 
Samarkand had fallen into his hands, and fresh levies 
came trooping in. Some of the Tarkhan nobles, too, 
returned to him, and by May, 1501, he was in a con- 
dition to take the field against Shaibani. 

The Uzbeg leader had retired to Bukhara after 
Babar's unexpected arrival at Samarkand, but he 
was now at Dabusi, within striking distance, and 
Babar marched out to the Bridge Head (Sar-i-pul) to 
meet him. As before, he formed an entrenched zariba, 
and so long as he kept behind his defences Shaibani 
could not touch him. In an evil moment, however, 
the stars in their courses hurried on an engagement. 


It happened that the Eight Stars [of the Great Bear %\ 
were exactly between the two armies, whereas for the 
next fortnight they would be on the enemy's side. In 
his after wisdom Babar confesses that ' these observa- 
tions were idle, and there was no excuse for my haste ' ; 
but at the moment the Eight Stars persuaded him, 
and without waiting for the reinforcements which the 
Tarkhans and Dughlat Amirs were bringing to his 
support, the superstitious prince gave battle. 

Early on the May morning the troops of Samar- 
kand, man and horse armed in mail, marched out 
of their entrenchments. The enemy was drawn up 
ready for them. Shaibani had the longer line, for 
he quickly turned Babar's left, and wheeled upon his 
rear. This was the usual Uzbeg tactic or tulughma : 
first turning the enemy's flank, then charging simul- 
taneously on front and rear, letting fly their arrows 
at a breakneck gallop, and if repulsed retiring at 
top speed. Babar was evidently unprepared for it 
at the battle of Sar-i-pul, though he learnt to use 
it with deadly effect in later years in India. His 
rear indeed changed front, under fire, but so clumsily 
that the right became separated in the movement ; 
and, although the enemy's front attack was driven 
back on his centre, Babar was out of touch with his 
right, his left was already routed, and his rear hotly 
engaged. To add to the confusion, his Mongol troopers, 
instead of fighting, fell to unhorsing and looting their 
own side. ' Such is the way of those Mongol rascals : 
if they win, they seize the booty ; if they are beaten, 


they unhorse and plunder their own allies, and carry 
off the spoil all the same.' Surrounded and attacked 
on all sides, by friends and foes alike, with the arrows 
dropping in from all points of the compass, Babar's 
followers broke and fled, and he found himself on the 
river bank with only ten or fifteen men. The Kohik 
had to be crossed, and it was out of their depth, but 
they plunged in, horse and all, heavily armed at all 
points as they were, and swam across ; then, cutting 
away their horses' heavy trappings and mail, they 
rode for their lives. As they went they could see their 
Mongols stripping and murdering their dismounted 
comrades : Babar's scorn breaks out in verse : — 

Were the Mongols a race of angels, it would still be a vile 

nation ; 
Were their name written in gold, it would be abomination. 
Beware you pluck not a single ear from a Mongol field, 
For whatever is sown with Mongol seed has an odious yield. 

He reached Samarkand, but without an army. Six 
valiant Begs had fallen, the rest had vanished. He 
had to defend the city with the help of a loyal but 
untrained mob, led by a remnant of his dejected fol- 
lowers. In those days, however, strong walls counted 
for much against even an overpowering superiority 
in numbers and discipline, and for seven months 
Babar held out against Shaibani's host. The rabble 
stood by him pluckily, and even ventured out to 
skirmish with the enemy, covered by a brisk dis- 
charge from the crossbows over the gates. Once, 
under cover of a feigned assault, the Uzbegs got a 


footing on the wall by the Needlemakers' Gate : but 
the sturdy townsmen discovered them, and cut them 
down as they climbed up on their tall ladders. The 
nights were made horrible by the din of Shaibani's 
big drums, which were beaten loudly before the 
gate, accompanied by shouts and alarums. Matters 
could not go on for ever like this. There was no 
sign of relief. 

1 Though I had sent ambassadors and messengers to all the 
princes and chiefs round about, no help came from any. 
Indeed, when I was at the height of my power, and had 
suffered as yet neither defeat nor loss, I had received no 
help, and could hardly expect it now that I was reduced to 
such distress. To draw out the siege in hopes of any 
succour from them was clearly useless. The ancients have 
said that to hold a fortress, a head, two hands, and two feet 
are needed. The head is a captain, the two hands are two 
friendly forces advancing from different sides, the two feet 
are water and food in the fort.' 

In this case the head had to act by itself ; the friendly 
hands were not stretched out, and the feet were all 
but exhausted. There was no corn in Samarkand ; 
the poor were eating dogs and donkeys ; the horses 
were browsing on the branches of trees ; people were 
secretly escaping over the walls. There was nothing 
for it but surrender, and Babar capitulated — so he 
puts it — one can hardly expect him to confess the 
bald fact, but it is more truthful to say that he 
fled. His mother and two other ladies escaped with 
him. but his eldest sister fell into the hands of 


Shaibani and entered his harim ; evidently she was 
part of the capitulation 1 . 

One would think that nothing could be much more 
depressing than this midnight exodus from the city 
of his ambition, which he had twice held and twice 
lost again, but Babar's spirits were extraordinarily 
elastic ; and after a night spent in losing himself and 
his unfortunate companions in the tangle of the 
canals, when at the time of morning prayers they 
at last found their road, we find the desolate exile 
and his ' muddy-brained ' follower indulging in a 
breakneck gallop. Babar relates it as if it were the 
sort of amusement that dethroned monarchs usually 
pursued : — 

1 On the road I had a race with Kambar 'Ali and Kasim 
Beg. My horse got the lead. As I turned round on my 
seat to see how far I had left them behind, my saddle turned, 
the girth being slack, and I fell right on my head. Though 
I sprang up at once and mounted, I did not recover the full 
possession of my senses till the evening, and the world and 
all that happened then passed before my eyes like a dream 
or phantasy and disappeared. The time of afternoon prayers 
was past before we reached Ilan-uti, where we dismounted, 
and killing a horse, butchered him and cooked slices of his 
flesh. We stayed a little time to rest our horses, then 
remounted and reached the village of Khalila before day- 
break: thence to Dizak. . . . Here we found nice fat flesh, 
bread of fine flour well baked, sweet melons, and excellent 

1 This is clearly stated in the Shaibdni-ndma, xxxix ; but it seems 
the lady was in love with the brave barbarian, who, however, 
soon divorced her. 


grapes in great abundance : thus passing from the extreme 
of famine to plenty, and from a state of danger and calamity 
to peace and ease. 

From famine and distress we have escaped to repose ; 
We have gained fresh life and a fresh world. 
The fear of death was removed from the heart ; 
The torments of hunger were taken away 1 . 

In all my life I never enjoyed myself so much or felt at any 
time so keenly the pleasures of peace and plenty. Enjoy- 
ment after suffering, abundance after want, come with 
increased relish and afford more exquisite delight. I have 
four or five times in the course of my life passed thus from 
distress to ease and from suffering to enjoyment; but this 
was the first time I had ever been delivered from the 
assaults of my enemy and the pressure of hunger, and 
thence passed to the ease of safety and the joy of plenty/ 

1 In the original the first two lines are in Turki, the last two 
in Persian. 




Babar did not see Samarkand again for many 
years. He had matched his strength against Shaibani 
Khan, and the Uzbeg had shown himself the stronger. 
The young prince — he was king of nothing now — did 
not give in on that account ; he sought more than 
once to cross swords with his powerful adversary; 
but he made no fresh attempt upon his capital for 
a long while. For the present he retired among the 
shepherds on the hills near Uratipa, waiting upon 
events. He had the happy faculty of being interested 
wherever he was, and now he found much amusement 
in talking to the Persian Sarts in the mountain 
village, and watching their sheep and herds of mares, 
as he took long rambles barefooted among the pas- 
tures. He lodged with the headman of the village, 
a veteran of seventy or eighty, whose mother was 
still alive at the age of a hundred and eleven. She 
had children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and 
great-great-grandchildren to the number of ninety-six 
in the district round about, and she delighted the 
prince with her reminiscences of old days. One of 


her people had actually served in Timur's army when 
he invaded Hindustan : ' she remembered it well, and 
often told us stories about itV Perhaps the old 
woman's tales fired her listener's imagination, and 
led him to dream of that Indian empire which was 
one day to lie at his feet. 

At present nothing lay at his feet but humble 
peasants and their flocks. He was so poor that he 
viewed with alarm the arrival of his grandmother, 
' with the family and heavy baggage, and a few lean 
hungry followers,' escaped from Samarkand. His 
pride had fallen so low that he was persuaded by 
a politic counsellor to send a present to his more 
fortunate brother Jahangir: he sent him an ermine 
cap, and unwillingly added a heavy Samarkand sword 
for his old enemy Tambal. He lived to regret the 
sword. The presents were carried by those of his 
followers who, having nothing but mischief to do in 
the village, were allowed to return to their homes at 
Andijan. He made a raid himself in the winter. 
Shaibani was ravaging the country about the Sir, 
and Babar could not resist the temptation of having 
a thrust at him. He led his few troopers to Panjkend, 
but found nothing of the Uzbegs but their tracks. 
The river was another temptation, for Babar was a 
magnificent swimmer, as he afterwards proved in 

1 As Timur invaded India in 1398, the old woman was a child 
of seven at the time ; but her recollection was doubtless refreshed 
in after years by the returned warrior. 


' It was terribly cold,' he writes, ' and the wind from the 
desert had lost nothing of its violence and blew keen : so 
cold was it that in a few days we lost several comrades from 
its nip. I had to bathe, for religious purification, and went 
down to a stream that was frozen at the banks but not in the 
middle, by reason of the swift current. I plunged in, and 
dived sixteen times, but the biting chill of the water cut 
through me.' 

Another fruitless expedition followed, and then 
Babar seriously considered his prospects. He re- 
flected that ' to ramble thus from hill to hill, without 
house or home, country or resting-place, could serve 
no good purpose.' His only plan was to go to the 
Khan his uncle. On June i6, 1502, he kept 
the great festival, the 'Id-i-Kurban, at Shahrukhiya, 
and then went straight to Tashkend. Mahmud Khan 
welcomed him with the hospitality of the desert, but 
evidently without much sympathy. When Babar pre- 
sented him with an elegant quatrain on the miseries 
of exile, the Khan would not commit himself on the 
subject: 'it was pretty evident that he had no great 
skill in poetic diction,' said the- mortified poet, but it 
is also possible that the uncle thought his nephew 
had brought his misfortunes on his own head. The 
Memoirs give many curious pictures of Mongol 
customs, and show the character of the people from 
whom Babar drew at least half his blood. 

During his stay with his uncle at Tashkend, the 
restless Khan took a desire to lead his Mongols 
against Tambal, who was harassing Uratipa. The 


army marched to Panjkend, where Babar assisted in 
the ceremony of trooping the colours according to 
Mongol traditions. First the Khan dismounted, and 
nine ox-tail standards 1 were set before him. A 
Mongol stood by, holding in his hand an ox's shank- 
bone, to which he tied a long white cotton cloth. 
Another fastened three long slips of white cloth 
below the horse-tail of the standard. 

1 One corner of one of the cloths the Kbin took, and 
putting it beneath his feet, stood upon it. I stood on 
a corner of another of the long slips, which was in like 
manner tied under one of the ox-tails ; and Sultan 
Muhammed Khanikeh [the Khan's son] took the third, 
and placing the cloth under his feet, likewise stood upon 
a corner of it. Then the Mongol who had tied the cloths, 
holding the ox-shank in his hand, made a speech in the 
Mongol tongue, looking often to the standards, and pointing 
and making signs towards them. The Khau and all the 
men formed in line, took kumis in their hands, and sprinkled 
it towards the standards. All the trumpets and drums 
struck up at once, and all the soldiers who were drawn up 
shouted the war-cry. These ceremonies they repeated thrice.' 

All this was minutely regulated by precedent, for 
'among the Mongols, the rules of Chingiz Kaan are 
still strictly observed. Each man has his appointed 
post ; those appointed to the right or left wing or 
centre have their established posts handed down from 

1 The tug or standard of the Mongols was made of the tail of 
a mountain ox. There is an admirable painting of this ceremony 
in the sixteenth -century Persian MS. of B£bar's Memoirs preserved 
in the British Museum (Or. 3,714). 



father to son ; and those of the greatest trust and 
rank are at the extremities or flanks.' 

After this review, the army marked out a great 
hunting circle, and hunted as far as the Chahar-Bagh 
of Burk. Meanwhile Babar indulged his poetry 
and melancholy by composing his first ghazal or 
ode, beginning — 

I have found in the world no faithful friend but my soul ; 

Save mine own heart I have no trusty confidant. 

They then marched to the Sir, where the young 
prince gave the officers a banquet, at which, in true 
Mongol style, the gold clasp of his girdle was stolen. 
Some of the Begs deserted to Tambal next day — with 
the gold clasp, as Babar suspected. He was out of 
humour with everything, even with making war : 
'this expedition of the Khan' (he says) 'was rather 
a useless sort of excursion. He took no fort ; he beat 
no enemy ; he went and came back again.' 

Inaction and dependence did not agree with Babar' s 
proud and energetic spirit. 

' While I remained at Tashkend,' he confesses, ' I endured 
great distress and misery. I had no country nor hopes of 
one. Most of my servants had left me out of sheer want ; 
the few who still stood by me could not escort me on my 
journeys for want of means. When I went to my uncle the 
Khan's audience, I was attended only by one or two ; fortu- 
nately this did not happen among strangers, but with my 
own kindred. After paying my respects to the Khan, my 
uncle, I went in to wait on [his mother] the Shah Begum, 
bareheaded and barefoot, as freely as one might do in one's 
own home. But at last I was worn out with this un- 


settled state, with no house or home, and weary of life. 
I said to myself, rather than pass my life in such wretched- 
ness and misery, it were better to go my way and hide me in 
some nook where I might be unknown and undistinguished 
— to flee away from the sight of man as far as my feet could 
carry me/ 

He thought of China, which he had always longed 
to visit, and now that he had no ties of kingship, and 
his family was in safety with the Khan, he resolved 
to journey into the unknown. His plan was to go 
and visit his younger uncle, Ahmad Khan, surnamed 
Alacha or 'the Slayer,' in Mongolistan, and thence 
escape to the eastward. But the plan was upset by 
the unexpected tidings that Ahmad was actually 
coming to visit his brother Mahmiid, whom he had 
not seen for a quarter of a century — indeed they had 
been on no friendly terms. Babar set out at once 
to welcome him, and it happened that the meeting 
between uncle and nephew took place quite suddenly. 

'All at once I found myself face to face with him. I 
instantly dismounted and went forward to meet him. The 
Khan, seeing me get off, was much upset. He had meant 
to dismount somewhere and receive me, seated, with all the 
ceremonies ; hut I had come upon him too quickly, and 
dismounted in such a hurry, that there was no time for 
etiquette. The moment I sprang from my horse, I knelt 
down and then embraced my uncle. He was a good deal 
agitated and disconcerted/ 

However, on the morrow, 'the Slayer' had his 
wish, and carried out the formalities. He sent Babar 

E 2 


a complete Mongol dress, and one of his own horses 
ready saddled. ' The dress consisted of a Mongol cap 
embroidered with gold thread, a long frock of China 
satin adorned with flowered needlework, a Chinese 
belt of the old style, with whetstone and purse- 
pocket, to which were hung three or four things like 
the trinkets women wear at their necks, such as a 
perfume box and little bag.' They journeyed together 
to Tashkend, and the elder Khan came out a dozen 
miles to meet his brother. Then he awaited him, 
seated solemnly under a tent. 

' The younger Khan went straight up, and on coming near 
him in front, turned off to the left, and fetched a circle 
round him, till he was again in front, when he dismounted, 
and advancing to the proper distance for the komish 
oheisance, bowed nine times, and then came up and 
embraced him. The elder Khan on his approach stood up 
for the embrace ; they stood a long time clasped in each 
other's arms. Then the younger Khan, on retiring, again 
bowed nine times ; and when he presented his pishkash 
(or tributary offering) he bent again many times, after 
which they both sat down. All the younger Khan's men 
were dressed in the Mongol fashion., with the native caps and 
flowered China satin frocks ; their quivers and saddles were 
of shagreen, and their horses were decked and caparisoned 
in a singular fashion. The younger Khan came with but few 
followers — less than two thousand. He was a stout, 
courageous man, and a perfect master of the sabre, his 
favourite weapon. He used to say that the mace, javelin, 
and battle-axe, if they hit, could only be relied on for 
a single blow. This sharp, trusty sword he never allowed 
to be away from him ; it was always either at his waist or 


in his hand. As he had been brought up in an out-of-the- 
way country, he was something rude of manner and uncouth 
of speech.' 

The two Khans, joining their forces, celebrated their 
reunion by a warlike expedition. Tambal must be 
crushed. He was then at Andijan, and thither they 
advanced against him (July, 1502), sending Babar 
with a detachment to move upon Ush and Uzkend, 
and thus take the enemy in the rear. He took Ush 
by surprise, to the delight of the inhabitants, who 
dreaded Tambal ; and the ' lis and Uluses,' or wander- 
ing tribes, nocked to his standard. Uzkend and 
Marghinan declared for their former king, with all 
the country on the southern side of the Sir, save 
Andijan itself. Meanwhile Tambal lay unperturbed 
between Akhsi and Karman, facing the Khans, in his 
entrenched zariba. Babar bethought him of a night 
reconnaissance to Andijan, where the citizens at least 
were understood to be loyal. He set out one evening 
from Ush, and at midnight was within a couple of 
miles of the capital. Then he sent forward Kambar 
'Ali with a party to open a secret conference with the 
Khwajas and leading men. Babar himself waited 
their return, seated on horseback with the rest of his 
men. He must tell the story himself : — 

'It might be about the end of the third watch of the 
night, some of us were nodding, others fast asleep, when all 
at once kettle-drums struck up, accompanied by warlike 
shout and hubbub. My men being off their guard and 
oppressed with drowsiness, not knowing how many or how 


few the enemy might be, were seized with panic and took to 
disorderly flight. I had no time to rally them, but advanced 
towards the enemy, accompanied by Mir Shah Kochin, Baba 
Shirz&d, and Dost Nasir. Except us four, all ran off to 
a man. "We had gone but a little way when the enemy, 
after discharging a flight of arrows, raised the war-cry, and 
charged upon us. One fellow on a horse with a white blaze 
came up to me. I let fly an arrow which hit the horse, and 
he instantly fell dead. The others drew rein a little. My 
three companions said, " The night is dark, and it is impos- 
sible to judge the number and force of the enemy; all our 
troops are fled ; we are but four, and with such a number 
how can we hope to win? Let us follow our party, rally 
them, and bring them back intu action." So we galloped off 
and overtook our men, but in vain we flogged them — we 
could not make them stand anyhow. Again we four turned 
and gave the pursuers a flight of arrows. They halted 
a space ; but after one or two volleys they saw we were only 
four, and set off again in pursuit of our men, to strike and 
unhorse them. Three or four times we covered and pro- 
tected our people in this way, and as they would not rally, 
I was constantly turning with my three companions to keep 
the enemy in check and bring them up short with our arrows.' 

They kept up the pursuit, nevertheless, for the 
space of five miles, till they came to some hills, when 
Babar saw how few they were, and cried out, ' Come, 
let us charge them.' When they charged, the others 
stood still! And they proved to be some of their 
Mongol allies, who had mistaken them in the dark 
for the enemy. After this confusion the recon- 
naissance naturally failed, and all returned abashed 
to Ush. 


Nevertheless Tambal became disheartened : the 
people were going back to their old allegiance, and 
he felt he must soon break up his force and retire. 
Babar, discovering this downheartedness, forthwith 
marched again upon Andijan, met a body of the 
enemy outside, and drove them in ; but was dis- 
suaded by his old Begs from forcing an entrance in 
the dark : ■ Had we done so,' he remarked afterwards, 
'there is not the shadow of a doubt that the place 
would have fallen into our hands.' As it was, while 
negligently sleeping in the open plain, without pickets 
or sentries, they were surprised at dawn by the main 
body under Tambal himself: — 

1 Kambar 'Ali galloped up, shouting, " The enemy are upon 
us — rouse up!" Having so said, without a moment's halt 
he rode on to give the alarm. I had gone to sleep, as my 
custom was even in times of security, without taking off 
my jama, and instantly arose, girt on my sabre and quiver, 
and mounted my horse. My standard-bearer seized the 
standard-pole, but had no time to tie on the ox-tail; so 
seizing the staff as it was, he leapt on horseback, and we went 
towards the quarter whence the enemy were advancing. 
When I mounted there were ten or fifteen men with me. 
By the time I had advanced a bow-shot we fell in with the 
enemy's skirmishers. At this moment there might be about 
ten men with me. Riding quickly up to them and shooting 
our arrows, we came upon the foremost, smote them and 
drove them back, and pressing on pursued them for another 
bow-shot, when we fell in with the main body of the enemy. 
Sultan Ahmad Tambal was standing there [in front of his 
troops] with about a hundred men; he was speaking with 


another man in front of the line, and in the act of saying, 
" Smite them ! Smite them ! " but his men were sidling in 
a hesitating way, as if saying, " Shall we flee 1 ? Let us flee !" 
yet without budging. 

' There were now only three men left with me — Dost Nasir, 
Mirza Kuli Kukildash, and Kerimdad Khodaidad the Turk- 
man. One arrow was on my notch and I shot it point 
blank at Tambal's helmet. Again I felt the quiver, and 
brought out a barbed arrow, which my uncle the Khan had 
given me. Unwilling to throw it away, I returned it, and 
thus lost time. Then I put another arrow on the string 
and went forward, the others lagging a little behind. Two 
men came straight on to meet me, the forwarder was Tambal. 
There was a causeway between us. He mounted on one 
side of it just as I mounted on the other, and we met so that 
my right hand was towards my enemy and Tambal's right 
towards me. Except for his horse, Tambal was completely 
in mail. I had on my cuirass, and carried my sabre and 
bow and arrows. I drew up to my ear and sent my arrow 
right at his head, when at the same instant an arrow struck 
me on the right thigh and pierced through and through. 
Tambal rushed on, and, with the great Samarkand sword 
I had given him, smote me such a blow on my steel head- 
piece as to stun me. Though not a link of the cap was cut, 
my head was severely bruised. I had neglected to clean my 
sword, so that it was rusty, and I lost time in drawing it. 

* I was alone, solitary, in the midst of foes. It was no time 
for standing still, so I turned my bridle, receiving another 
sabre stroke on my quiver. I had gone back seven or 
eight paces when three foot-soldiers came up and joined me. 
Tambal attacked Dost Nasir with the sword. They followed 
us about a bow-shot. . . . God directed us aright, so that we 
came exactly upon one of the fords of the river. Just after 
crossing, Dost Nasir' s horse fell from exhaustion. We halted 


to remount him, and passing among the hills got back to 
Ush safely 1 .' 

The behaviour of his two uncles now began to 
make him uneasy. Mahmud Khan very coolly made 
over to his brother all the places which Babar had 
reconquered of his patrimony, on the ground that 
Ahmad Khan required a good position close at hand 
in order to withstand Shaibani. They would pre- 
sently conquer Samarkand, and Babar should have 
that in exchange for Farghana. He was not de- 
ceived; it was not the first time that his uncle had 
coveted the little kingdom. ' Probably,' he wrote, ' all 
this talk was merely to overreach me, and had they 
succeeded, they would have forgotten their promise. 
But there was no help for it : willing or not, I had to 
seem content.' He went to visit his younger uncle, 
who seeing him walking painfully with a stick, by 
reason of his wound, ran out beyond the tent- ropes 
and embraced him heartily, saying, ' Brother, you have 
quitted yourself like a hero.' The visitor noticed that 
the tent was small and untidy : melons, grapes, and 
stable furniture were lying about in a muddle. The 
Khan, however, was kind, and at once sent his own 
surgeon to dress the wound. 

' He was wonderfully skilful in his art,' says Babar, in all 
good faith. ' If a man's brains had come out he could cure 
him, and he could even easily heal severed arteries. To 
some wounds lie applied plasters ; for others he prescribed 

1 A few words have been added from Babar's second account 
of this adventure (pp. 265-6 of Erskine's translation). 


doses. To my thigh wound he applied the skin of some 
fruits which he had prepared and dried, and he did not 
insert a seton. He also once gave me something like a vein 
to eat. He told me that " a man once had his leg broken so 
that part of the bone as large as one's hand was completely 
shattered. I cut open the integuments, extracted the whole 
of the shattered bone, and inserted in its place a pulverised 
preparation, which grew in place of the bone, and became 
bone itself, and the leg was perfectly cured." He told me 
many similar strange and wonderful stories of cures, such as 
the surgeons of our parts are totally unable to effect.' 

No doubt this extraordinary operator made a good 
cure of the wound in the thigh, for we find his patient 
soon afterwards riding to Akhsi, at the invitation of 
Tambal's younger brother, Shaikh Bayazid. This 
strange partnership led to many adventures. 




The motive of Tambal's brother in inviting Babar 
to join him was obvious enough. Babar was the only 
' capable commander on the side of the two Khans ; 
if he could be detached, the Mongol invasion of 
Farghana would probably fall to pieces ; and once 
in Tambal's power, the young king would doubtless 
be cured for ever of all ambition. Yet something 
might be made of the proposal. His two uncles sug- 
gested that he should take advantage of his new ally's 
cordiality, and entrap him ; but treachery was the 
thing of all others he despised : ' Such trickery and 
underhandedness were altogether against my grain 
and nature ; besides, there must be a treaty, and I 
could never bring myself to break my word.' Never- 
theless, he would try to win over Bayazid to his side, 
and thus make a split in Tambal's party. 

All went well at first. He arrived at Akhsi, and 
took up his quarters in the stone fort where . his 
father's old palace stood. Bayazid seemed really 
loyal, though he kept the command of the castle. 
Presently news came that Shaibani was on the march, 


and that the two Khans had immediately beaten a 
retreat. Babar was thus deserted, and the next thing 
was the approach of Tambal at the head of two or 
three thousand men-at-arms. The trap was on the 
point of snapping ; the brothers' plans had worked 
out beautifully. With his usual carelessness, or want 
of suspicion, Babar had not thought of seizing the 
castle, the key of the position, nor had he even set 
a guard at the bridge by which Tambal must cross. 
His own followers were dispersed all over the country, 
and he had but a hundred left. To hold the town 
without securing the castle was hopeless ; yet Babar 
attempted it with the help of his brother Jahangir, 
who had at last fled from his gaoler. Flight was 
the only chance of safety, and the story of how 
Babar made his escape, and how he fared on his 
wild journey, fills some exciting pages of the 
Memoirs : — 

' We had no sooner come opposite the gate than we saw 
Shaikh Bayazid, with a quilted gambeson over his vest ; he had 
just then entered the gateway with three or four horsemen, 
and was riding into the town. ... I immediately drew to 
the head the arrow that was in my notch, and let him have 
it full. It only grazed his neck, but it was a fine shot. The 
moment he had traversed the gate he turned short to the 
right and fled in a panic down a narrow lane. I pursued. 
Kuli Kukildash struck down one foot-soldier with his mace, 
and had passed another, when the fellow aimed an arrow 
at Ibrahim Beg, who baulked him by shouting " Hai ! Hai ! " 
and went on ; but the man, being no further off than the 
porch from the hall, let fly an arrow which hit me under 


the arm. I had on a Kalraak mail, and two of its plates 
were pierced and shivered by the shot. Then he fled and 
I sent an arrow after him, which caught a foot-soldier who 
happened just then to be flying along the rampart, and 
pinned his cap to the wall, where it stuck transfixed, 
dangling from the parapet. He took his turban, twisted it 
round his arm, and ran off. A man on horseback passed 
close to me, rushing up the narrow lane. I gave him the 
point of my sword on the temple ; he swerved over as if to 
fall, but caught the wall, and thus supported recovered his 
seat and escaped. 

' Having scattered all the horse and foot that were at the 
gate, we took possession of it. There was now no reasonable 
chance of success, for they had two or three thousand well- 
armed men in the citadel, while I had only a hundred, or at 
most two hundred, in the outer stone fort ; and besides, 
about as long before this as milk takes to boil, Jahangir 
Mirza had been beaten and driven out, and half my men with 
him. Yet such was my inexperience that, posting myself in 
the gateway, I sent a messenger to Jahangir to bid him join 
me in another effort. But in truth the business was over . . . 
We continued waiting at the gate for the return of my 
messenger. He came and told us that Jahangir was already 
gone some time. It was no season for tarrying, and we too 
set off : indeed my staying so long was very unwise. Only 
twenty or thirty men now remained with me. The moment 
we moved off a strong troop of the enemy came smartly after 
us ; we just cleared the drawbridge as they reached its town 
end. Banda 'Ali Beg called out to Ibrahim Beg, " You are 
always boasting and bragging : stop and let us exchange 
a few sword-cuts." Ibrahim, who was close to me, answered, 
"Come on, then; what lets you?" Senseless madcaps, to 
bandy pretensions at such a moment ! It was no time for 
a trial of skill, or any sort of delay. "We made off at our 


top speed, the enemy at our heels. They brought down man 
after man as they gained on us. 

' "Within a couple of miles of Akhsi there is a place called 
the Garden-Dome. We had just passed it when Ibrahim Beg 
called loudly to me for help. I looked round and saw him 
engaged with a home-bred slave of Shaikh Bayazid. I turned 
at once to go back, when Jan Kuli and Biyan Kuli, who rode 
beside me, seized my rein and hurried me on, saying, " What 
time is this for turning back 1 ?" Before we reached Sang 
(three miles from Akhsi) they had unhorsed most of my 
followers ; but after Sang we saw no more pursuers. We 
followed the river of Sang, being then only eight men. 
A sort of defile leads up stream among broken glens, far 
from the beaten track. By this unfrequented path we went, 
till leaving the river on the right we struck into another 
narrow track. It was about afternoon prayers when we 
came out from the glens upon the level country. There 
we saw a black spot far off on the plain. I put my men 
under cover, and crept up a hillock on foot to spy what it 
might be ; when suddenly a number of horsemen galloped 
up behind us : we could not tell how many there were, but 
took to our horses and fled. The horsemen who followed us 
(I afterwards learnt) were not above twenty or twenty-five 
in all, and we were eight. Had we but known their number 
at first we should have given them warm work, but we 
thought they were in force ; and so we continued our flight. 
The truth is that the pursued are no match for the pursuers, 
even though numbers be in their favour, for 

A single shout is enough to finish the vanquished. 

'Jan Kuli said, "We cannot go on like this; they will 
take us all. Do you and the foster-brother (Kukildash) take 
the two best horses of the party and galloping together keep 
the spare horses on your bridle ; perhaps you may escape." 


The advice was good, but I could not leave my followers 
dismounted in presence of the enemy. At last my party 
began to separate and drop behind. My own horse began 
to flag. Jan Kuli dismounted and gave me his. I leapt 
down and mounted his horse, and he mounted mine. At 
this instant Shahim Nasir and c Abd-al-Kaddiis, who had 
fallen behind, were unhorsed by the enemy. Jan Kuli also 
dropped behind, but it was no time to try to shield or help 
him. We pushed our horses to their utmost stretch, but 
they gradually flagged and slacked. Dost Beg's horse was 
done up and dropped behind, and mine began to give signs 
of being worn out. Kambar 'Ali dismounted and gave me 
his horse. He mounted mine, and presently fell behind. 
Khwaja Husaini, who was lame, turned aside to the heights. 
I was left alone with Mirza Kuli Kukildash. 

' Our horses were past galloping ; we went on at a 
canter, but Kuli's horse went slower and slower. I said, " If 
I lose you, whither can I go 1 Dead or alive we will keep 
together." I held on my way, turning from time to time to 
watch him. At last he said, " My horse is utterly blown, 
and you cannot escape encumbered with me. Push on and 
shift for yourself ; perchance you may still escape." I was 
in a horrible situation. Kuli then fell behind, too, and 
I was alone. Two of the enemy were in sight . . . they 
gained on me ; my horse flagged. There was a hill about 
a couple of miles off, and I came up to a heap of stones. 
My horse was done up, I considered, and the hill yet a con- 
siderable way ahead. What was to be done 1 I had still 
about twenty arrows in my quiver. Should I dismount at 
this heap of stones, and hold my ground as long as my arrows 
lasted 1 But then it struck me I might yet be able to win 
the hill, and if I did I could stick a few arrows in my belt and 
manage to climb it. I had great faith in my own nimble- 
ness. So I kept on my course. My horse could make no 


speed, and my pursuers got within bowshot of me ; but I was 
sparing of my arrows and did not shoot. They too were 
chary, and came no nearer than a bowshot, but kept track- 
ing me. 

1 1 drew near the hill about sunset, when they suddenly 
called out to me, " Where are you going, that you fly in this 
manner 1 Jahangir Mirza has been taken and brought in, 
and Nasir Mirza has been seized." I was greatly alarmed 
at these words, for if all [three] of us fell into their hands, 
we had everything to dread ! I made no answer, but kept 
on for the hill. When we had gone a little further they 
called to me again, speaking more graciously, and dismount- 
ing from their horses to address me. I paid no attention, 
but kept on my way, and entering a gorge, began to ascend 
it, and went on until about bedtime prayers, when I reached 
a rock as big as a house. I went behind it, and found an 
ascent of steep ledges where the horse could not keep his 
footing. They also dismounted, and began to address me 
still more courteously and respectfully, expostulating, and 
saying, " What end can it serve to go on thus in a dark 
night, where there is no road 1 Where can you possibly go 1" 
They both solemnly swore that " Sultan Ahmad Beg [Tambal] 
wishes to put you on the throne." 

' I answered, " I can put no trust in anything of the sort, 
nor could I possibly join him. If you really wish to do me an 
important service, you have now an opportunity which may 
not recur for years. Point me out a road by which I may 
rejoin the Khans, and I will show you kindness and favour 
beyond your utmost desire. If you will not, then return 
the way you came, and leave me to accomplish my fate — 
even that will be no slight service." " Would to God," 
they exclaimed, " that we had never come ; but as we are 
here, how can we desert you in this desolate situation 1 
Since you will not accompany us to Tambal, we shall follow 


and serve you, go where you will." I said, " Swear then to 
me by the Holy Book that you are sincere in your offer." 
And they swore that tremendous oath. I now began to have 
some confidence in them, and said, " An open road was once 
pointed out to me near this same valley : do you proceed by 
it." Though they had sworn, yet I could not thoroughly 
trust them, so I made them go on in front, and I followed 

So they journeyed on, the fugitive king and his 
two doubtful guides. They were misleading him, of 
course, and meant to deliver him up to Tambal. 
They got him some bread, however, for starving was 
no part of their plan, and, * each with a loaf under his 
arm,' the three sat munching on a hillock, keeping 
watch on all sides and on each other. They saw 
people passing below, whom they knew, but Babar 
dared not trust himself to them, though he trusted 
his two strange companions even less. It was now 
afternoon of the second day, and they went down to 
graze their famished horses in the marshy valley. 
Here they encountered the headman of the neigh- 
bouring village of Karman, and Babar knew him, and 
spoke him fair, and tried to secure his fidelity and 
help. At night they again descended from their rock, 
and the men gave Babar an old cloak of lambskin, 
with the wool inside and coarse cloth without, for it 
was winter and bitterly cold. They brought him 
also a mess of boiled millet flour, which he found 
'wonderfully comforting.' They were waiting (they 
said), to see the headman again ; but ' those mis- 



begotten treacherous clowns ' had meanwhile sent a 
messenger to Tambal to betray Babar's retreat. 

' Entering a stone house and kindling a fire, I closed my 
eyes for a moment in sleep. These crafty fellows pretended 
a vast anxiety to serve me : " We must not stir from this 
neighbourhood/' said they, "till we have news of Kadir 
Berdi [the headman]. The room where we are, however, 
is in the midst of houses. There is a place on the outskirts 
where we could be quite unsuspected, could we but reach it." 
So we mounted our horses about midnight and went to 
a garden on the outskirts of the suburbs. Baba Sairami 
watched on the terrace roof of the house, keeping a sharp 
look-out in every direction. 

' It was near noon [on the third day of the flight] when 
he came down from the terrace and said to me, " Here comes 
Yusuf the constable." I was seized with prodigious alarm, 
and said, " Find out if he comes in consequence of knowing 
that I am here." Baba went out, and after some talk 
returned and said, " Yusuf the constable says that at the 
gate of Akhsi he met a foot-soldier who told him that 
the king was in Karman at such a place ; that, without 
telling the news to any one, he had put the man into close 
custody, . . . and hastened to you at full speed ; and that 
the Begs know nothing of the matter." I asked him, " What 
think you of this % " He replied, " They are all your ser- 
vants ; there is nothing left for it but to join them. They 
will undoubtedly make you king again." " But after such 
wars and quarrels," said I, " how can I trust myself in their 
power V I was still speaking, when Yusuf suddenly presented 
himself, and falling on his knees before me exclaimed, 
" Why should I conceal anything from you 1 Sultan Ahmad 
Beg knows nothing of the matter ; but Shaikh Bdyazid 
Beg has got information where you are, and has sent me hither." 

FLIGHT ( 83 

I On hearing these words I was thrown into a dreadful 
state of alarm. There is nothing that moves a man more 
painfully than the near prospect of death. " Tell me the 
truth," I cried, "if indeed things are about to go with me 
contrary to my wishes, that I may at least perform the last 
rites." Yiisuf swore again and again, but I did not heed his 
oaths. I felt my strength gone. I rose and went to a corner 
of the garden. I meditated with myself, and said, Should 
a man live a hundred, nay, a thousand, years, yet at last he 1 
must inevitably make up his mind to die. 

Whether thou live a hundred years or a single day, thou 

Infallibly quit this palace which delights the heart. 

I I resigned myself, therefore, to die. There was a stream 
in the garden, and there I made my ablutions and recited 
a prayer of two bowings. Then surrendering myself to 
meditation I was about to ask God for his compassion, when 
sleep closed my eyes. I saw (in my dream) Khwaja Ya'kub, 
son of Khwaja Yahya and grandson of his eminence the 
Khwaja 'Obaid-Allah [a famous saint of Samarkand], with 
a numerous escort mounted on dappled grey horses, come 
before me and say, " Do not be anxious. The Khwaja has 
sent me to tell you that he will support you, and seat you on 
the throne of sovereignty; whenever a difficulty occurs to 
you, remember to beg his help, and he will at once respond 
to your appeal, and victory and triumph shall straightway 
lean to your side." I awoke, with easy heart, at the very 
moment when Yusuf the constable and his companions were 
plotting some trick to seize and throttle me. Hearing them 
discussing it, I said to them, " All you say is very well, but 
I shall be curious to see which of you dares approach me." 

1 Here the Persian texts break off suddenly : the rest of the 
adventure is from the Turki original. 

F 2, 


t As I spoke, the tramp of a number of horses was heard 
outside the garden wall. Yusuf the constable exclaimed, 
"If we had taken you and brought you to Tambal, our 
affairs would have prospered much thereby. As it is, he has 
sent a large troop to seize you ; and the noise you hear is 
the tramp of horses on your track." At this assertion my 
face fell, and I knew not what to devise. 

* At that very moment the horsemen, who had not at first 
found the gate of the garden, made a breach in its crumbling 
wall, through which they entered. I saw they were Kutluk 
Muhammad Barlas and B4bai Pargari, two of my most devoted 
followers, with ten to fifteen or twenty other persons. 
When they had come near to my person, they threw them- 
selves off their horses, and bending the knee at a respectful 
distance, fell at my feet and overwhelmed me with marks of 
their affection. 

'Amazed at this apparition, I felt that God had just 
restored me to life. I called to them at once, " Seize Yusuf 
the constable and the wretched traitors who are with him, 
and bring them to me bound hand and foot." Then turn- 
ing to my rescuers I said, " Whence come you 1 Who told 
you what was happening 1 ?" Kutluk Muhammad Barlas 
answered, " After I found myself separated from you in the 
sudden flight from Akhsi, I reached Andijan at the very 
moment when the Khans themselves were making their 
entry. There I saw in a dream Khwaja 'Obaid-Allah, who 
said, ' PadishaMi Babar is at this instant in a village called 
Karman ; fly thither and bring him back with you, for the 
throne is his of right/ Rejoicing at this dream, I related it 
to the big Khan and the little Khan. . . . Three days have 
we been marching, and thanks be to God for bringing about 
this meeting . . ." 

'We mounted without losing an instant, and made for 
Andijan. I had eaten nothing for two days. Towards 


noon we had the luck to find a sheep ; we dismounted and 
settled ourselves comfortably to roast it. After satisfying 
my ravenous hunger, we set off again, and quickening our 
pace reached Andijan, doing a distance of five days in 
two nights and a day. There I embraced the two Khans, 
my uncles, and related all that had passed since our 

It all reads like a tale of the Thousand and One 
Nights, and ends exactly in the orthodox manner ; 
but the graphic narrative is plainly true from start to 
finish. What happened after this wonderful ride we 
cannot tell. The Memoirs break off suddenly, and 
are not resumed until June, 1504, nearly a year and a 
half later. It may be imagined that Babar's position 
as a dependant upon his uncles in his own city of 
Andijan was even less tolerable than his former 
penury at Tashkend. But his personal losses may 
well have been forgotten in presence of the disasters 
which befel his uncle Mahmud, to whom ' he almost 
stood in the place of a son.' The two Khans were 
utterly unable to withstand the assaults of Shaibani. 
About the middle of 1503 the Uzbeg chief advanced 
with 30,000 men from Samarkand, sacked Tashkend 
and Uratipa, and finding the Khans with an army of 
15,000 men near Akhsi, where they were treating for 
the submission of Bayazid, threw himself upon them 
almost before they had time to form in order of battle, 
and utterly routed them. 

Both Khans were taken prisoners, but Shaibani, 
who owed his original success to Mahmud, said with 


an air of magnanimity, ' With your help and assist- 
ance I have won my power : I took you captive, but 
I do not kill you ; I let you go.' The younger Khan 
was completely broken by his defeat, and in the 
following year died in the steppes which he ought 
never to have left. Mahmud Khan's fate was more 
melancholy. He could not be happy in the desert, 
and after five years was induced to return to Farghana : 
he was met at Khojend by Shaibani's officers, who 
killed him and his five sons on the spot 1 . Such was 
the gratitude of the Uzbeg. 

After the fatal battle of Akhsi in 1503, Babar ' fled 
to the hills on the south of Farghana,' near Asfara, 
and remained in hiding. He twice refers to this 
fresh exile in his Memoirs 2 ; c When Muhammad 
Shaibani Khan defeated Sultan Mahmud Khan and 
Alacha [Ahmad] Khan, and took Tashkend and 
Shahrukhiya, I spent nearly a year in Siikh and 
Hushiyar among the hills, in great distress ; and it 
was thence that I set out for Kabul.' 

1 In 1509, Tarikh-i-Rashidi, ed. Elias and Ross, 158, 159, 162. 

2 Erskine and Leyden, 4, 395. 



' Then it came into my mind,' writes Babar, ' that 
it would be better to depart out of Farghana, any 
whither, rather than go on staying thus without a 
foothold.' The last attempt to recover his kingdom 
had begun well, but ended in utter failure. The 
Uzbegs were now masters of the country ; they had 
followed up the defeat of the Khans by the execution 
of Tambal, and were about to drive Khusrau Shah 
out of Hisar and Kunduz. Mawarannahr was no 
longer the place for any son of Timur. Northern 
Persia was still in the hands of Sultan Husain, who 
had throughout treated Babar's overtures with un- 
natural coldness. There remained one chance. Ulugh 
Beg, Babar's uncle, the King of Kabul, had died in 
1 501 ; his young son, 'Abd-ar-Razzak, had been de- 
posed by a revolution ; anarchy had followed, and 
a usurper, Mukim Beg, an Arghiin Mongol from 
Kandahar, had seized the throne. A strong man of 
the royal blood might perhaps be able to assert the 
rights of the family. After some hesitation, Babar 
resolved to try. 


Little as he suspected it, this was the turning-point 
in his career. Henceforward, instead of forming one 
of a crowd of struggling princes contending for the 
fragments of Timur's empire between the great rivers, 
he stands alone, without a rival or competitor, among 
the impregnable mountain passes of Afghanistan ; 
until finally the youth who had twice taken and lost 
Samarkand, and had thrice wandered a penniless 
exile among the shepherds of the hills of his native 
land, came out of the Afghan passes by the imme- 
morial road of conquest, and founded an empire in 
India which lasted, in the hands of his descendants, 
first in glory, and then in dishonour, down to our own 
days. From Samarkand to Kabul, and from Kabul 
to Delhi, has been the road of conquest time after 
time ; until at last another road was ploughed upon 
the seas, and the Afghan gates were barred by a new 
race from the islands in the west. 

He left his native land with intense regret, and for 
many years he cherished vague hopes of recovering it. 
Ill as it had served him, the love of his country was 
strong in his heart, and it is touching to find him 
reverting long afterwards to the favourite scenes of 
his boyhood. He was now leaving them for he knew 
not what. Nos patriae fines et dulcia linquimus arva. 
He had not yet definitely resolved upon going to Kabul. 
His first plan was to seek refuge with his kinsmen 
at Herat, but his views changed as he advanced. 

'In the month of Muharram [June, 1504] I set out 
from the neighbourhood of Farghana, intending to go into 

kAbul 89 

Khurasan, and halted at the summer-cots of Ilak, one of 
the summer pasturages of the province of Hisar. I here 
entered my twenty-third year, and began to use the razor to 
my face. The followers who still clave to me, great and 
small, were more than two hundred and less than three. 
Most of them were on foot, with brogues on their feet, clubs 
in their hands, and tattered cloaks over their shoulders. 
So poor were we that we had only two tents. My own 
I gave to my mother ; and they pitched for me at every halt 
a felt tent of cross poles, in which I took up my quarters. 
Though bound for Khurasan, I was not without hopes, in 
the present state of things, to manage something among the 
territories and followers of Khusrau Shah, where I now was. 
Hardly a day passed without some oue joining me with 
hopeful news of the country and tribes.' 

Babar, in fact, was tampering with the subjects of 
his peculiar enemy. It has been suggested that he 
painted Khusrau Shah in the blackest colours in 
order to vindicate his own treatment of him ; but he 
owed the treacherous governor no sort of obligation, 
and Khusrau's conduct to Mahmud's sons is enough 
to explain their cousin's detestation. In justice to 
the great noble, the Memoirs frankly admit that he 
was ' far famed for his liberal conduct and generosity, 
and for the humanity which he showed to the meanest 
of men, though never to me.' Khusrau at least 
allowed him to travel through his dominions at a 
time when any tampering with his army was of vital 
importance in view of Shaibani's advance. He seems 
even to have recognized Babar as the rightful king ; 
and his brother Baki Beg, with all his family, joined 


the emigrants and voluntarily shared their fortunes. 
The probability is that Baki and many other followers 
of Khusrau saw that their old leader's day was over ; 
and that, if they had to fly, it was better to fly in 
company, and with the countenance of a distinguished 
prince of the blood. The young leader's personality, 
no doubt, counted for much : his name was a synonym 
for valour — 

Famous throughout the world for warlike praise. 

Moreover, the Mongols especially had slight scruples 
about changing colours, and when Shaibani's horsemen 
were tramping the road to Kunduz, Khusrau Shah 
himself followed the deserters and offered his allegi- 
ance. Babar received him beneath a tree near the 
river of Andarab, and confesses to an ungenerous 
feeling of triumph when he saw the great man making 
a score of profound obeisances, ' till he was so tired 
that he almost tumbled on his face.' The fallen noble 
had not lost all his spirit, however ; for when Babar 
cruelly condoled with him on the desertion of his 
soldiers, Khusrau replied with fine contempt, c Oh, 
those scamps have left me four times already : they 
always come back.' He knew the worth of Mongol 
loyalty to a nicety, and events proved him right. 
Some agreement was come to at this meeting, and 
Khusrau departed for Khurasan with his valuables borne 
on three or four strings of mules and many camels, 
whilst Babar turned his face towards Kabul. He had 
finally decided that no help was to be found at Herat. 


He had now, to his own great astonishment, a con- 
siderable army, though mixed and disorderly, and he 
had acquired eight hundred coats of mail from Khusrau. 
He was accompanied by his brothers, Jahangir and 
Nasir, in spite of the protests of Baki, who quoted the 
saying of Sa'di : — 

Ten dervishes may lie on one rug, 

But no country is big enough for two kings. 

Besides his brothers, he took with him his cousin 
Khan Mirza, otherwise Sultan Wais (the surviving 
son of Mahmud), whom he had some trouble in re- 
straining when the young prince claimed the blood 
revenge from Khusrau for the murder of his kin. The 
ladies of the family, including Babar's mother, joined 
him on the march ; but of his old comrades in arms 
he seems to have had few left besides Kasim Kochin 
and Dost Beg. Kambar e Ali indeed had rejoined him, 
but he could not keep him : ' he was a thoughtless 
rude talker, and Baki Beg could not put up with his 
manners.' This is the last we hear of the friend with 
the 'muddy brain.' Babar entered upon his new 
campaign with new tools. His chief adviser (not ex- 
cepting his brothers) was now Baki, the brother of 
Khusrau, and his army was made up chiefly of what 
he calls ' the lis and Uluses,' or wandering tribes ; 
the Mongols who had deserted Khusrau ; the wild 
Hazara mountaineers from beyond Panjhir, and 
a number of Aimaks from Kunduz. Their adhesion 
was a compliment to his prestige, but a tax upon his 


provost marshal. The army was unused to discipline, 
but perfectly familiar with the art of plunder, and we 
read of a man flogged to death for outraging the 
country folk. 

Ascending the Hindu Kush at Ghurband, Babar 
took the pass of Hupiyan, marching all night, and 
there for the first time the man from the north saw 
a brilliant star shining in the southern constellations. 
' This cannot be Suhail (Canopus) V he cried. ' But it 
is Suhail/ they answered ; and Baki quoted — 

Suhail, how far dost thou shine, and where dost thou rise? 
Thine eye brings luck to him whom thou regardest. 

The sun was a spear's length above the horizon 
when they reached the foot of the valley, and there 
a council of war was held. Babar' s scouts had already 
had a successful skirmish with some of the Kabul 
troops, and had made an important capture. Baki, 
who took the lead in everything, strongly advised an 
instant attack on the city, and the whole army, in 
their mail coats, with armour on their horses, formed 
up for the assault ; Babar commanded the centre, and 
his brothers the two wings. There was practically 
no resistance. The invaders galloped up to the 
Curriers' Gate, dispersed a feeble attempt to stop them, 
lost a few men in the staked pits, gave a few cuts and 
thrusts, and then Kabul surrendered. The usurper 
Mukim and his family, for whose safety Babar was 
concerned, were got away with difficulty ; they were 
mobbed by the disorderly troopers, and the officers 


could do nothing till the King himself rode up and 
restored order by the simple method of shooting some 
of the rioters and cutting down a few others. 

Thus, at the beginning of October, 1504, Eabar 
entered upon his new kingdom at Kabul, ' in the midst 
of the inhabited part of the world.' He describes it 
in minute detail, and soon grew to be very fond of his 
adopted country, and especially of the great garden, 
the Char-bagh, which he laid out. Here, as after- 
wards at Agra, his first thought is for a garden, and 
no one more honestly believed that — 

God made the garden, — and the city, Cain. 

The Kabul kingdom of his day did not comprise 
what we now call Afghanistan, a term which he limits 
to the country occupied by Afghan tribes. Kabul 
itself, with the country round about, was inhabited 
chiefly by Persian Tajiks, and his sway did not at first 
extend much beyond Adinapiir in the Khaibar, nor 
very far south : * it is a narrow country, but stretching 
some distance,' he says. The climate and situation 
of the citadel delighted him, with its cool northern 
breezes, and the spacious view over meadows and 
lake : — 

Drink wine in Kabul keep, and send the cnp ceaselessly 

round ; 
For Kabul is mountain and sea, city and desert, in one. 

' From Kabul you may go in a single day to a place 
where snow never falls ; and in two hours you may 
find a place of perpetual snow.' There were fruits in 


abundance, almost to satisfy the taste of one who had 
been brought up on the melons of Akhsi ; yet Babar 
imported still more, and added the sour cherry and 
sugar-cane to the number. But the country was far 
from rich, grain was raised with difficulty, and the 
whole revenue of Kabul was only about £35,000. 

The new King's description of the country is re- 
markable for its close observation and keen interest in 
nature. Babar knows every animal, bird, and flower ; 
he counts thirty-three species of tulips in one place, 
and can tell where the rarest sort is found ; he knows 
the habits of bird and beast, and when and how they 
are to be caught; he tells how the birds cannot fly 
over the Hindu Kush passes in stormy weather, and 
are thus taken in thousands ; and he knows how to 
lasso herons with a horn at the end of a line, and 
how to make the fish intoxicated and catch them in 
shoals. He can tell where the best grass for horses 
grows, and which pastures are free from mosquitoes. 
One of his favourite spots was the ' Garden of 
Fidelity,' where orange trees and pomegranates clus- 
tered round a lake, and the whole earth was soft with 
clover — ' the very eye of beauty.' Another was the 
1 Fountain of the Three Friends,' where three kinds of 
trees grew, planes, oaks, and the flowering arghwan : 
nowhere else in the country were the two last to 
be found. Babar walled the fountain round, and 
made a seat, for 'when the arghwdn flowers are 
in bloom, the yellow mingling with the red, I know 
no place on earth to compare with it.' In his ruder 


way, he too felt the subtle influence of flowers that 
prompted — 

Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. 

He can tell something, too, about the many races 
who inhabit his new kingdom, and the dozen tongues 
they spoke ; the dwellers in the wastes, the Hazara, 
a relic of Chingiz Kaan's armies, still speaking the 
Mongol language ; and the Mahmands, the most 
powerful of the Afghan tribes ; the Orakzais and 
Yusufzais ; or again the people of Kafiristan, ' wine- 
bibbers, who never pray, fear not God or man, and 
have heathenish habits.' He is not above superstition, 
and records the legend of the sand-dune where the 
sound of ghostly drums and tomtoms is said to be 
heard; but when he is shown a saint's tomb which 
rocks if one blesses the Prophet, he investigates the 
phenomenon, and finds it is caused by an ingenious 
priest on a scaffold overhead. He makes the atten- 
dants come down to the floor, and then they may 
pronounce as many benedictions as they please, but 
the tomb remains immovable. Imposture always dis- 
gusted him, and he often fell foul of astrologers. 

A brief survey convinced him that his new pos- 
session was 'to be governed by the sword, not the 
pen,' — and this, although he had just perfected a new 
style of calligraphy, ' the Babari hand,' — and he had 
to use the sword very soon. He began by overesti- 
mating the resources of the people, and, having a large 
army to support, issued orders for contributions of 


grain which were beyond the power of his subjects to 
supply. The result was a rebellion among the Hazara, 
who had already been plundering, and now refused to 
pay taxes ; so ' we beat them,' says Babar, ' to our 
heart's content.' He now perceived that to feed his 
forces he must forage outside, and he already began 
to think of the riches of Hindustan. The stories of 
the soldier of Timur, told years before by the old 
woman among the Ailak shepherds, no doubt recurred 
to his memory, and the resolve to enter India grew 
more fixed and clear. 

His first expedition, however, hardly touched the 
promised land of his dreams. He had intended, he 
says, to enter Hindustan, but was diverted from his 
project by the urgent advice of Eaki. Instead, he 
fetched a circuit round the Afghan country, down the 
Khaibar, to Kohat, then past Bannu and the turbulent 
Bangash district to Isakhail ; after which, skirting 
the foot-hills by Desht or Daman, he crossed the 
Gomal, and reached the Indus. Even in this slight 
view of the borders of India, he was impressed with 
the novelty of the scene. ' I beheld,' he says, £ a new 
world. The grass was different, the trees different, 
the wild animals of a different sort, the birds of 
a different plumage, and the tribes of a different kind. 
I was struck with astonishment.' For a couple of 
days he marched along the bank of the frontier river, 
and then turned inland, crossed the Sulaiman raDge 
to the great lake called Ab-i-Istada or { Standing 
Water,' occupied Ghazni, and so returned to Kabul. 


The expedition lasted about four months, from January 
to May, 1505, and besides furnishing grain, bullocks, 
— and occupation, — gave Babar a clearer know- 
ledge of the people he had to deal with and the diffi- 
culties of the country. The whole route had been 
a perpetual skirmish with the Afghans, and Babar 
was obliged to be exceedingly careful to avoid sur- 
prises. He kept his men under arms at night, ready 
for an attack, and organized regular rounds of the 
pickets ; if a man was not found on the alert at his 
post, his nose was slit. The result of his caution was 
that he was never surprised, and every time he en- 
countered the Afghans, he beat them, on his own 
showing : they would then come to him as suppliants, 
'with grass between their teeth, as who should say, 
" I am thine ox." ' After a victory, he cut off their 
heads, and made a ' minaret ' of them, like his ancestor 
Timur. His route was studded with these human 
milestones. At other times he would spare their lives, 
when he thought it good policy. 

The difficulties of the country exceeded his expecta- 
tions. Toiling over the mountains, he had to abandon 
his state-pavilion for want of carriage ; the horses 
died from exhaustion ; the rains flooded the tents knee- 
deep, and it was a worn-out army that at last emerged 
at the ' Standing Water.' Babar, who had cheerfully 
composed an ode on the way, was overpowered with 
delight as he surveyed the grand sheet of water, 
which stretched to the horizon : — ■ 

' The water seemed to touch the sky, and the further hills 


and mountains appeared inverted, like those in a mirage, 
and the nearer hills and mountains seemed to hang between 
earth and heaven. . . . From time to time, between the water 
and the sky, something ruddy appeared, like the rosy dawn, 
and then vanished again, and so went on shifting till we 
came near; and then we discovered that it was due to 
immense flocks of wild geese [flamingoes, perhaps], not ten 
or twenty thousand, but simply innumerable and beyond 
counting. There were not wild geese alone, but endless 
flocks of every kind of bird settled on the shores of this 
lake, and the eggs of countless multitudes of fowl were laid 
in every cranny.' 

On his return to Kabul, he found a budget of news. 
His brother Nasir, who ought to have followed him 
to the Indus, had been tempted, by a rising against 
the Uzbegs in Badakhshan, to desert his elder and 
to cross by the Shibertii pass to try his fortune in 
a kingdom of his own. Shaibani was then absent in 
Khuwarizm, and Khusrau Shah had also seized the 
opportunity to make an attempt to recover his lost 
dominions. He had failed and been taken prisoner, 
and his head was struck off and sent to the Uzbeg 
chief. The incident touched Babar nearly, because 
as soon as Khusrau's advance was known his old 
followers began to leave Kabul and rejoin their former 
master, as he had foretold that they would ; but as 
soon as his death was announced, they came back — 
' the spirit of discontent was quenched, as when water 
is thrown on fire.' It was necessary, however, to keep 
the troops busy, and Babar found them occupation in 
the temporary conquest of Khilat-i-Ghilzai, the strong 


fortress between Ghazni and Kandahar. The garrison 
obediently came out 'with their bows, quivers, and 
scimitars, hanging from their necks ' ; but the place 
was too far from Kabul to be effectively held at 
a time when every man might be needed any day 
to repel the threatened advance of the Uzbegs. No 
one could be found to undertake to defend it, and it 
was consequently abandoned. 

Babar was now beginning to feel settled in the 
saddle. He could afford to assert his authority, and 
he began by dismissing Baki Beg. This brother of 
Khusrau had undoubtedly been useful at a critical 
moment, but, like *Ali Dost in the Andijan days, 
he had presumed upon his services. He had become 
the most powerful Beg of the court, a pluralist who 
drew all the stamp taxes of Kabul, was captain of the 
guard, constable of Kabul and Penjhir, and even had 
drums beaten before his house as though he were 
actually king. In spite of all these favours and privi- 
leges, he was neither grateful nor respectful ; ' he was 
mean, sordid, malicious, narrow-minded, envious, and 
ill-tempered.' Babar does not spare the epithets when 
his dislike is aroused. He determined to get rid of 
this officious person, and as Baki had several times 
threatened to resign, one day he took him at his word. 
The astonished minister reminded him that he had 
promised not to call him to account until he had been 
guilty of nine offences : Babar immediately sent him 
a list of eleven. Baki had to go, and was soon 
after murdered among the Yusufzai Afghans. Babar's 

G 2 


intriguing and dissipated brother Jahangir fled the 
country soon after : his absence sensibly relieved the 

Freed from a presumptuous minister and treacherous 
kinsfolk, Babar next undertook the reduction of a 
turbulent tribe. The Hazara were 'up' again, and 
were again suppressed, with the usual difficulty 
attending mountain warfare. As Erskine truly says, 
it would lead to needless and monotonous detail 
if one followed Babar in all his expeditions against 
the various tribes in the hills and wilds. ' The history 
of them all is nearly the same. He sets out secretly 
with a strong light force, marches without halting, 
comes upon the encampment of the tribe unawares, 
disperses or slays the men, and carries off the women, 
cattle, and valuables. Sometimes, however, the clans 
are on their guard, and he meets with a brave resist- 
ance ; when, after considerable loss to both parties, 
victory in the end inclines to the side of disciplined 
valour. It is hardly possible for governments consti- 
tuted like those of the East, and possessed of no 
regular standing army, to subdue, and still less 
thoroughly to settle, the erratic tribes of the moun- 
tains and deserts, who always govern themselves most 
easily and effectually. Babar in some instances forced 
them to acknowledge his supremacy, and to a certain 
degree restrained their inroads and subjected them to 
tribute ; but in general, down to the time when he 
conquered Delhi, the Afghans maintained their inde- 
pendence, only sending tribute with more or less 

KABUL , 101 

punctuality, according as the means of enforcing it 
were nearer or more remote.' The Hazara remained 
unsubdued, though often beaten. Indeed, the rela- 
tions of Babar with the wild tribes of Afghanistan, 
and the nature of his guerilla fighting in that difficult 
country, may readily be understood by any one who 
has followed the recent history and campaigns in the 
north-west frontier of India. Except that Babar 
had a few firearms, and the tribes had only bows, the 
conditions of warfare and the national characteristics 
were much the same then as in 1898. 

It must be remembered that he was established in 
only a small part of Afghanistan, that his army was 
composed of mixed and far from trustworthy elements, 
that the tribes around were in frequent revolt, and 
that there could be no security so long as Shaibani 
pursued his victorious career just the other side of 
the mountains, and might at any moment follow in 
Babar' s steps. For years after his conquest of Kabul, 
the exiled king looked back upon his native land, 
now overrun by the hardy Uzbegs, with deep regret ; 
and although he was already dreaming those grandiose 
visions of an Indian Empire, which were not to be 
realized till twenty years later, his chief preoccupation 
at first was to protect his rear, and if possible get the 
better of the victorious chief who had robbed him of 
his birthright. The only possibility of vanquishing 
Shaibani lay in a vigorous combination of the sur- 
viving fragments of the family of Timiir. In pursuit 
of such a union Babar now journeyed to Herat. 




Shaibani Khan, after finishing the subjugation of 
the kingdom of Khuwarizm, by the Sea of Aral, re- 
turned to the attack of the remnant of the Timurid 
Empire. At the end of 1505, when all the land 
between the Sir and the Amu, from Aral to Badakh- 
shan, was his, he prepared to conquer Persia, and 
began by laying siege to the great city of Balkh, the 
strongest outpost of Khurasan. Sultan Husain at 
last was thoroughly roused ; he took the field, despite 
his age and infirmities, and summoned all his kinsmen 
to his side. Now or never must the Uzbeg invasion 
be met and rolled back. Among the rest, Babar was 
called to the war, and none would more heartily join 
in a campaign against his own deadliest enemy. To 
defeat Shaibani was now his dearest wish : it meant 
revenge for the loss of Samarkand, it might mean 
Samarkand regained. In June, 1506, he led his troops 
out of Kabul, and taking the Shibertu and the ' Tooth- 
break' (Denddn-shikdn) passes, descended to Kahmard, 
and thence past the Aimak country, where ! as all the 
world was in disorder, every one plundering and 

HERAT 103 

usurping other folks' property, my people took some 
booty from the tilled land as well as from the clans ; 
and we imposed a subvention on the Turks and 
Aimaks.' His brother Jahangir had been intriguing 
among these people, and Babar had chosen this route 
in order to assert his sovereignty and bring his 
brother, like a whipped cur, to> heel. 

At the end of October, after a march of eight hundred 
miles, he met the sons of Sultan Husain; the old 
man himself had died in the spring, even before the 
army left Kabul. The princes were encamped with 
all the troops they could collect on the bank of the 
river Murghab. They were a totally new experience 
to the hardy soldier. Whatever may have been the 
comparative luxury of Andijan or Samarkand in the 
days of his infancy, Babar had never known the soft 
delights of cultured ease and magnificent idleness. 
His own life had been a succession of adventures and 
privations. He now for the first time became ac- 
quainted with the luxurious possibilities of a decadent 
civilization. Herat, then the capital of Khurasan, had 
been the home of science and the arts during the long 
reign of the late sovereign, and the natural capacity of 
the site had been developed to the utmost. Though 
it possessed but a single stream within the walls, the 
gardens without were famous for fertility, and for 
twenty miles on one side, and nearly ten on another, 
the country round about was a wilderness of lovely 
orchards and plantations, and expanses of well-tilled 
fields, surrounding numerous villas and hamlets. 


1 Herat,' says Khwandamir, ' is the eye — the lamp that 
illuminates all other cities ; Herat is the soul to the 
world's body ; and if Khurasan be the bosom of 
the earth, Herat is confessedly its heart.' Its mosques 
and public buildings were the admiration of the 
Muhammadan world, and in its huncjred colleges some 
of the most learned men of the East had taught.. 
Among the poets and litterati with whom Husain. 
delighted to surround himself were Jami, the author 
of Yusuf and Zulaikka, Mirkhwand and Khwan- 
damir, the historians, *Ali Shir, who combined bril- 
liant talents as a commander with the name of the 
best Turki poet of his age, Biani, poet, critic, calli- 
grapher, and unsurpassed in trilling on the dulcimer ; 
with astrologers, astronomers, philosophers, theologians, 
rhetoricians, jurisconsults, critics, versifiers, penmen, 
musicians, portrait painters, innumerable. Babar devotes 
many well-filled pages to a list of the eminent men of 
the court of Herat, and it is far from complete. In 
this literary metropolis a poet was often the arbiter 
elegantiae, set the fashion in dress among the 
jeunesse doree, and suggested aesthetic eccentricities 
of costume not altogether unworthy of the age of 
Petronius or even the Victorian epoch. *Ali Shir was 
not only a fashionable poet, he was the Beau Brummel 
of his monde, and the ' ' Ali Shir cravat,' and the ' l Ali 
Shir donkey-pad,' were all the rage among the young 
voluptuaries of the gay city. 

Babar was quite unaccustomed to luxury such as 
he now witnessed on joining his cousins on the banks 

HERAT 105 

of the Murghab, and afterwards at Herat, whither, 
jaded with the fatigues of a mock campaign, they all 
soon repaired. He describes their splendid pavilions, 
their divans, and carpets, and cushions, their gold and 
silver goblets, their profusion of rich dishes and 
varied wines. At first he is rather shocked: 'My 
forefathers and family,' he says, ' had always sacredly 
observed the rules of Chingiz. In their parties, their 
courts, their festivals, and their entertainments, in 
their sitting down and rising up, they never acted 
contrary to the institutions of Chingiz.' But he is no 
bigot, and adds, ' The institutions of Chingiz certainly 
possessed no divine authority, that a man should be 
compelled to conform to them ; every man who has 
a good rule of conduct should follow it, and if the 
father has done what is wrong the son should change 
it for what is right.' 

Yet he did not at once give way to the temptations 
of Herat. * At that time,' he notes, ' I drank no wine,' 
and there was evidently a struggle before he broke 
his rule. His cousins respected his abstinence, as 
a good Muslim's obligation, though too hard a doc- 
trine for weaker brethren like themselves. ' The 
entertainment,' we read on one occasion, ' was wonder- 
fully elegant. On their trays was every kind of 
delicacy— kebabs of fowl and goose, and dishes in 
short of every kind. Badf-az-zaman's 1 entertainments 

1 Badi'-az-zaman was the eldest son of the late Sultan Husain, 
but Muzaffar was his favourite son by his best-beloved concubine, 
Khadija Begum. The two had been chosen joint-heirs, and the 
dual monarchy ruined the government. 


were highly renowned, and this party was certainly 
free, easy, and unconstrained. During the time I re- 
mained on the banks of the Murghab, I was present 
twice or thrice at the Mirza s drinking parties ; when 
it was known that I drank no wine, they did not 
trouble me by pressing.' Then he began to argue 
with himself thus — but we will quote the whole 
passage, as it is admirably illustrative of the society 
of the time : — 

' A few days after, I had an invitation from Muzaffar 
Mirza 1 , who lived at the White Garden. Khadija Begum, 
when dinner was removed, carried him and me to a palace 
called Terebkhana [or House of Delight] which Babar 
Mirza [the elder] had built. It stands in the midst of 
a garden, and though small and of only two stories it is 
a delightful little house. The upper storey is the more 
elaborate : it has four rooms, one in each corner, enclosing 
a central large hall; and the four rooms have four royal 
balconies. Every part of the hall is covered with paintings, 
. . . executed by order of Sultan Abu-Sa'id Mirza, to repre- 
sent his wars. 

' There was a drinking party in the Terebkhana. In the 
north end of the north balcony two carpets were set facing 
each other ; on one of them sat Muzaffar Mirza and I, and 
on the other Sultan Mas'ud Mirza and Jahangir. As we 
were guests in Muzaffar's house, the Mirza placed me above 
himself, and having filled up a glass of welcome, the cup- 
bearers began to supply all who were of the party with 
pure wine, which they quaffed as if it had been the water of 
life. The party waxed warm, and the spirit mounted up to 
their heads. They took a fancy to make me drink, too, and 
bring me into the same ring as themselves. Up to then 
1 See note on previous page. 

herAt t 107 

I had never been guilty of drinking wine, and was therefore 
practically ignorant of the sensations it produced ; yet I had 
a strong lurking inclination to roam in this desert, and my 
heart was very fain to cross the stream. In my boyhood 
I had no wish for it, and knew not its joys or pains. When- 
ever my father invited me to drink wine, I excused myself 
and abstained ; and after his death, by the protecting care of 
Khwaja Kazi, I continued pure and undefiled : I abstained 
even from forbidden foods, so was it likely I should indulge 
in wine ? Afterwards, by youthful fancy and natural im- 
pulse, I began to hanker for wine, but there was no one 
about me to help me to gratify my desire ; not a soul even 
suspected my secret longing. . . . 

1 At this party, among the musicians was Hafiz Haji ; 
Jalal-ad-din Mahmud, the flute-player, was there too, and the 
younger brother of Ghulam Shadi, Shadi Becheh, who played 
the harp. Hafiz Haji sang well. The people of Herat sing 
in a low, delicate, legato style. There was a singer of 
Jahangir Mirza s present, Mir Jan by name, a man from 
Samarkand, who always sang in a loud, harsh voice, and out 
of tune. Jahangir, who was far gone, suggested that he 
should sing, and sing he did, in a horribly loud, rasping, 
unpleasant tone. The men of Khurasan pique themselves 
on their good breeding, but many turned their ears away, 
some frowned, but out of respect for the Mirza no one 
ventured to stop him. After the hour of evening prayers 
we went from the Terebkhana to the new Winter Palace 
which Muzaffar Mirza had built. By the time we got there 
Yusuf 'Ali Kukildash, being very drunk, rose and danced ; 
he was a musical man and danced well. Now the party 
grew very merry and friendly ; Janik sang a Turki song ; 
HuzafFar's slaves performed some lewd, scurvy tricks while 
the company were hot with wine; the party was kept up 
late, and did not separate till an untimely hour.' 


It seems probable that Babar did not have his wish 
after all to drink wine at Herat. His chief adviser, 
Kasim Beg Kochin, remonstrated so severely with the 
princes upon their reprehensible design of making 
their young cousin break his religious habit, that 
when the next entertainment came off at the eldest 
prince's, we hear nothing of Babar 's intended initiation 
in drinking — though unfortunately he had more than 
enough of it later on — but only of his lack of science 
as a carver. He could not carve a goose, like many 
another man of genius, and was obliged to surrender 
the problem to his cousin : ' Badf -az-zaman at once 
cut up the goose, divided it into small pieces, and set 
it again before me : he was unequalled in this sort of 

Unfortunately, carving geese and sending the cup 
round were not the qualities most needed when Shai- 
bani was in the field. Babar soon realized that ■ the 
brave barbarian from the north was not to be van- 
quished by men like these. Their tents of state, their 
rich carpets, their gorgeous attire and goblets of silver 
and gold, without adding to their own means of 
defence, were an incentive to the rapacity of the 
enemy.' 'The Mirzas,' says Babar, 'although very 
accomplished at the social board, or in the arrange- 
ments for a party of pleasure, and although they had 
a charming talent for conversation and society, pos- 
sessed no knowledge whatever of the conduct of 
a campaign or of warlike operations, and were perfect 
strangers to the preparations for a battle, and the 

HERAT 109 

dangers and spirit of a soldier's life.' No help was to 
be expected from these polished gentlemen in with- 
standing the Uzbeg attack ; and now that winter was 
come, and there could be no campaigning till the next 
season, Babar resolved to go home and see what mis- 
chief the Turks, Mongols, Aimaks, Afghans, Hazara, 
and all the lis and Uluses, clans and tribes of various 
nations and languages, not to mention his own blood 
relations, had been doing all this while in his new 
kingdom of Kabul. 

At the entreaty of his cousins, the Mirzas, he had 
spent twenty days in Herat-^for ' in the whole habit- 
able world there is not such another city' — he had 
enjoyed life as he had never enjoyed it before ; the 
youngest of his fair cousins, Ma'suma, had fallen 
violently in love with him, and they were engaged : 
but winter was advanced, and on December 24, 1506, 
he began his return march to Kabul. By the advice 
of Kasim Beg Kochin he took the mountain road. 
Babar had a very high opinion of Kasim, who had 
been his father's major domo, and in time to come 
would be governor of his son Humayun. He describes 
him as a brave man, a fine sword, and matchless in 
a foray. It is true, when Babar's fortunes were over- 
cast, Kasim took service with Khusrau Shah, but 
when this great Amir fled before Shaibani, and his 
Begs deserted to Babar, Kasim also returned to his 
fealty, and his young master welcomed him with 
affection. In the fight with the Hazara in the glen of 
Khish, Kasim had shown prodigious valour, despite 


his years. ' He was a pious, devout, faithful Muslim,' 
says Babar, ' and carefully abstained from all question- 
able food. His j udgement and talents were remarkably 
good. He was a humorous fellow, and though he 
could neither read nor write, he had an ingenious and 
elegant wit.' 

Kasim and his master needed all their courage in 
the adventure that now lay before them. -They 
marched by a route much further south than that they 
had traversed coming out. It snowed incessantly, and 
in places the snow rose above the stirrups. They lost 
their way, their guide became hopelessly puzzled, and 
never succeeded in finding the road again. They sent 
out exploring parties, in the hope of lighting upon 
some stray mountaineers who might be wintering 
near by, but the scouts came back after three or four 
days, and reported that no one could be found : the 
country was absolutely empty of human beings. 
During the next few days the little army suffered 
terrible hardships — 'such suffering and hardship, in- 
deed,' says Babar, ' as I have scarcely endured at any 
other time of my life ' ; and he forthwith sat down and 
wrote a poem about it, but it was like to be the last 
poem he should ever write. 

1 For about a week we went on trampling down the snow, 
yet only able to make two or three miles. I helped in 
trampling the snow; with ten or fifteen of my household, 
and with Kasim Beg and his sons and a few servants, we all 
dismounted and laboured at beating down the snow. Each 
step we sank to the waist or the breast, but still we went 


on trampling it down. After a few paces a man became 
exhausted, and another took his place. Then the men who 
were treading it down dragged forward a horse without 
a rider ; the horse sank to the stirrups and girths, and after 
advancing ten or fifteen paces, was worn out and replaced 
by another; and thus from ten to twenty of us trod down 
the snow and brought our horses on, whilst the rest — even 
our best men, many of them Begs — rode along the road 
thus beaten down for them, hanging their heads. It was no 
time for worrying them or using authority : if a man has 
pluck and emulation he will press forward to such work of 
his own accord. ... In three or four days we reached a cave 
called Khawal Koti, at the foot of the Zirrin pass [Zard 
Sang, over the Koh-i-Baba], That day the storm was 
terrible, and the snow fell so heavily that we all expected 
to die together. When we reached the cave the storm was 
at its worst. We halted at the mouth : the snow was deep, 
and the path so narrow that we could only pass in single 
file. The horses moved with difficulty over the beaten, 
trampled snow, and the days were at the shortest. The 
troops began to arrive at the cave while it was yet light ; 
when it was dark they stopped ; each man had to dismount 
and halt where he was ; many waited for morning in their 

1 The cave seemed small. I took a hoe, and scraping and 
clearing the snow away made a resting-place for myself as 
big as a prayer carpet near the mouth of the cave ; I dug 
down, breast deep, but did not reach the ground. In this 
hole I sat down for shelter from the gale. They begged me 
to go inside, but I would not. I felt that for me to be in 
warm shelter and comfort whilst my men were out in the 
snow and drift — for me to be sleeping at ease inside whilst 
my men were in misery and distress, was not to do my duty 
by them, or to share in their sufferings as they deserved that 


I should. Whatever their hardships and difficulties, what- 
ever they had to undergo, it was right that I should share 
it with them. There is a Persian proverb that " In the 
company of friends death is a feast." So I remained sitting 
in the drift, in the hole that I had dug out for myself, till 
bedtime prayers, when the snow fell so fast that, as I had 
been all the time sitting crouched on my feet, I found four 
inches of snow on my head, lips, and ears : that night 
I caught cold in the ear. Just then a party that had 
explored the cave brought word that it was very capacious, 
and could hold all our people. As soon as I heard this 
I shook off the snow from my head and face, and went into 
the cave, and sent to call those who were at hand. A com- 
fortable place was found for fifty or sixty ; those who had 
any eatables, stewed meat, preserved flesh, or anything ready, 
brought them out ; and so we escaped from the terrible cold 
and snow and drift into a wonderful safe, warm, cozy place, 
and refreshed ourselves.' 

It was by such acts of comradeship and unselfish 
endurance, at the risk of his life, that Babar endeared 
himself to his soldiers. They knew that he took a real 
personal interest in each one of them, and that every 
gallant deed or feat of uncomplaining patience was 
sure to be observed and remembered, whilst in their 
illness or sufferings they could count on his sympathy 
and help. He possessed many of the finest qualities 
of a commander ; he knew when to be gentle as well 
as when to be firm ; and above all he never asked his 
men to do what he would not do himself. Whatever 
they suffered, he would suffer too. This comradeship 
with his soldiers accounts for much of Babar's success, 
and explains the devotion of the rank and file which 

HERAT 113 

enabled him again and again to snatch victory in the 
most unfavourable conditions. 

Fortunately the terrible march was nearly at an 
end. When they looked forth from the cave the next 
morning, the storm was over, the snow had stopped, 
and though the cold was still intense, and many lost 
their hands or feet from frost-bite, they managed to 
climb the pass, and the following day the inhabitants 
of a village down below were amazed to see a weary 
body of armed men limping down from the snow-clad 
heights, which the oldest native had never seen crossed 
by human beings at such a season. The depth of the 
snow indeed had saved them, and it was only after- 
wards that they understood how the heavy drifts, 
through which they had struggled with so much toil, 
had levelled and softened many a rift and precipice 
which they could never have passed but for the 
friendly covering. As they listened to the hidden 
perils they had escaped, they learnt to be thankful, 
seated round the fires of the hospitable villagers, 
taking their fill of good bread and fat sheep, and 
warmth and sleep, after the hardships of that fearful 

As Babar drew near to Kabul, he learnt that his 
return had been timed not a moment too soon. A 
rumour had been spread about that he had been made 
prisoner in Khurasan, and some of the Mongols who 
had stayed behind had set up a new king. This was 
Khan Mirza, the only surviving son of Sultan Mahmud 
of Samarkand. Khan Mirza was doubly a cousin, for 



his father was brother of Babar's father, and his 
mother 1 was half-sister of Babar's mother. It hap- 
pened that several sympathetic relations of Khan 
Mirza were at that time in Kabul, including a very 
strong-minded old woman, Shah Begum, the Mirza's 
own grandmother, but only step-grandmother to 
Babar, whose own mother and grandmother, his once 
zealous advocates, were unfortunately dead. There 
was also an uncle- in-law, Muhammad Husain Mirza 
Dughlat (father of Mirza Haidar, the author of the 
celebrated history), who had married Babar's mother's 
sister (now dead), and to whom, on going away to 
Khurasan, the nephew naturally confided a consider- 
able share in the conduct of affairs. There seems to 
be no doubt that he betrayed his trust, and even his 
own son's account in the Tarikh-i-Rashidi convicts 
him first of neglect or secret sympathy, and finally 
of open treason. 

The rebels had been laying siege for twenty-four 
days to the castle of Kabul, which was valiantly 
defended by some loyal servants of the absent king, 
when suddenly Babar burst in upon them. The 
traitors instantly broke and fled, only to be captured 
by the loyalists and brought before their injured 

1 This lady, Sultan Nigar Khanim, daughter of Yunus Khan by- 
Shah Begum, had no less than four husbands in succession. First 
she married Mahmud Mirza, and had the son called Wais, generally- 
known as Khan Mirza. After Mahmud's death, she became the 
wife of Uzbeg Sultan of the Kazaks, by whom she had two 
daughters ; and when Uzbeg died, she wedded Kasim Khan of the 
Kazaks, and finally Sultan Sa'id Khan of Kashghar. 

HERAT 115 

master. What followed is best told in the words of 
the chief traitor's son, who sets the conduct of Babar 
in a noble and generous light : — 

1 The Emperor/ he says, ' in conformity with his affec- 
tionate nature, without ceremony, and without a sign of 
bitterness — nay, with the utmost cheerfulness and good 
humour — came into the presence of his step-grandmother, 
who had withdrawn her affection from him and set up her 
grandson as king in his stead. Shah Begum was confounded 
and abashed, and knew not what to say. The Emperor, going 
down on his knees, embraced her with great affection, and 
said, " What right has one child to be vexed because the 
motherly bounty descends upon another 1 The mother's 
authority over her children is in all respects absolute." He 
added, "I have not slept all night, and have made a long 
journey." So saying, he laid his head on Shah Begum's 
breast and tried to sleep ; he acted thus in order to reassure 
the Begum. He had scarcely fallen asleep when his maternal 
aunt, Mihr Nigar Khanim [daughter of Yunus, and widow 
of Sultan Ahmad, and herself apparently in the plot], 
entered. The Emperor leapt up and embraced his beloved 
aunt with every manifestation of affection. The Khanim 
said to him, " Your children, wives, and household are long- 
ing to see you. I give thanks that I have been permitted to 
behold you once again. Rise up and go to your family in 
the castle. I, too, am going thither." 

1 So he went to the castle, and on his arrival all the Amirs 
and people began to thank God for His mercy. They made 
the dust of the feet of that loving king kohl for their eyes. 
Then the Khanim conducted Khan Mirza and my father [the 
treacherous uncle] before the Emperor. As they approached, 
the Emperor came out to meet them. The Khanim then 
said, " soul of your mother ! I have also brought the 

H 2 


guilty grandson and the unfortunate brother to you. What 
have you to say to them?" And she pointed to my father. 
When the Emperor saw my father, he instantly came 
forward with his wonted courtesy, and smiling openly, 
embraced him, made many kind enquiries, and showed him 
marked affection. He then embraced Khan Mirza in like 
manner, and displayed a hundred proofs of love and good 
feeling. He conducted the whole ceremony with the utmost 
gentleness of manner, bearing himself, in all his actions and 
words, in such a way that not a trace of constraint or artifice 
was to be seen in them. But, however much the Emperor 
might try to wear away the rust of shame with the polish 
of mildness and humanity, he was unable to wipe out the 
dimness of ignominy which had covered the mirror of their 
hopes 1 .' 

As Erskine points out, while this 'clemency was, 
indeed, founded on strong natural affections, and con- 
stitutional strength of feeling,' it was sound policy as 
well as natural kindness that directed Babar's conduct 
in this and many similar acts of mercy. But he felt 
the treachery of his kindred deeply, especially of the 
women to whom he had given asylum at his court 2 ; 
whilst as to his uncle, Muhammad Husain, who had 
so ill requited his trust, he says plainly that had he 
been cut in pieces he would only have met with his 
deserts ; yet he forgave him for his kinship, and let 
him depart, only to hear that ' this ungrateful thank- 
less man, this coward, who had been treated by me 
with such lenity, and whose life I had spared, entirely 

1 Tarikh-i-Rashidi, ed. laud., 200-201. 

2 Memoirs, E. and L., 217-218. 


forgetful of this benefit, abused me and libelled me to 
Shaibani,' his new master. Even this did not prevent 
Babar's receiving the traitor's son at Kabul with the 
utmost kindness a few years later. 

Such was the end of Babar's expedition to Khurasan, 
and of the hopes of repelling Shaibani. The voluptuous 
Mirzas of Herat and their beautiful capital soon fell 
before the brave barbarian from the north, and Babar 
was next to be menaced in his own little kingdom, 
which he had opportunely recovered from the traitors 
of his own household. 


Kabul and Kandahar 

Babar had scarcely returned to Kabul when the 
news came of the fall of Herat and the extermination 
of the dynasty of Husain. The King of Kabul was 
now the only reigning prince of the family of Tinmr, 
and the dejected adherents of the fallen house rallied 
round him as their sole hope in the general cataclysm 
caused by the triumph of Shaibani. Even the Arghun 
brothers, Shah Beg and Mukim, rulers of Kandahar, 
who boasted a descent from Chingiz, and who had not 
forgiven Babar for depriving them of Kabul three years 
before, turned to him for shelter against the coming 
storm. The very Mukim, whom he had supplanted in 
1504, begged him to come to Kandahar and defend it 
against the Uzbegs. Babar took the request as a mark 
of submission, and with his natural impetuosity marched 
at once to the rescue. When he arrived before Kan- 
dahar, however, he found that he was mistaken 1 . Far 
from welcoming him as a deliverer and paying homage 

1 This is Babar' s account ; the Tarikh-i-Rashidi (202) represents the 
case differently, and states that Babar sent an envoy to Kandahar 
to claim Shah Beg's allegiance to him as the head of the royal 
house of Tiiniir, which was refused. 


to him as their king, the Arghun brothers (who had 
already made terms with Shaibani) treated him with 
the cool civility of equals, and even used certain forms 
in the letters that passed between them which were 
more customary in addressing an inferior. Babar was 
not a meek man, and this insolence was too much for 
his fiery temper. He immediately prepared for action, 
and forming up his troops in a meadow near Kandahar, 
got ready to receive the enemy. 

1 My whole force/ he says, ' might amount to about two 
thousand, but . . . when the enemy appeared I had only about 
a thousand men with me. Though they were few in number, 
I had been at great pains to train and exercise them to the 
utmost point. Never, perhaps, were my troops in such 
perfect discipline. All my personal retainers who were fit 
were divided into companies of tens and fifties, and I had 
appointed officers for each, and assigned each company its 
proper station on the right or the left, so that they were all 
prepared and fully informed of what they were to do . . . The 
right and left wings, the right and left [of the centre], the 
right and left flanks, were to charge on horseback, and were 
drawn up and instructed to act of themselves without orders 
from the aides-de-camp ; but in general all the troops knew 
their stations and whom to attack.' 

The finer discipline of Babar's small army told 
against the greatly superior numbers of the enemy. 
The account of the battle of Kandahar is too confused 
to be intelligible, but it appears that after the first 
rush of the hostile cavalry had driven his vanguard 
in upon the centre, Babar's wings pressed steadily on, 
seized the fords of the rivers, and after a fierce 


struggle put the Arghun forces to flight. The citadel 
opened its gates, and the conqueror found himself in 
possession of amazingly rich treasures : indeed, he 
declares, in delighted hyperbole, ' no one ever was 
known to have seen so much money.' It was too 
much trouble to count it, so it was put into scales 
and divided by weight. The camp was gorged with 
plunder and spoils of every description, and the army 
marched back to Kabul driving asses laden with huge 
sacks of silver, weighing several hundredweight, which 
they loaded up as carelessly as if it were forage. 

Except for the booty, the expedition was useless. 
Babar had hardly been home a week when he learned 
that his brother Nasir, lately returned from Badakh- 
shan, whom he had left at Kandahar with a weak 
garrison, was shut up in the citadel, and that Shaibani 
was vigorously pressing the siege. Luckily a rising 
in another part of his dominions called the Uzbeg 
away, and Nasir was able to retreat to Ghazni from 
his untenable position, which was immediately re- 
occupied by the Arghun brothers. The bare news, 
however, of Shaibani's approach had thrown Kabul 
into consternation. Nothing apparently could check 
the advance of this terrible Tatar, who had trampled 
upon all Transoxiana, Khuwarizm, Farghana, and 
Khur&san, and was now drawing nearer and nearer to 
the last refuge of the fallen house of Tfmur. To defend 
Kabul seemed hopeless, and Babar actually determined 
to fly. He had experienced Shaibani's strength before, 
more than once ; the feud was deadly, and probably 


he never feared any man as he feared the Uzbeg chief. 
It is the only instance on record of downright panic in 
the man who ordinarily did not know the meaning of 
fear. He put a cousin in charge of the city, and 
gathering his troops together set out for India. He 
got as far as Adinapiir (now Jalalabad), fighting his 
way among the Afghans, and occupied his men in the 
vain attempt to subdue this truculent people — 
' robbers and plunderers/ he calls them, ' even in time 
of peace' — until the news of Shaibani's retreat em- 
boldened him to return to his capital. The advance 
into India, which he had so often contemplated, was 
again postponed. 

At this time Babar assumed a new title, — a name, he 
says, never before used by any prince of the dynasty 
of Timur : he called himself Pddishdh, ' emperor,' and 
by that style he was ever afterwards known. High- 
sounding as was the title, and great the wearer's state, 
he was still far from secure upon his throne. Shaibani 
had indeed retreated, and never again troubled his 
peace, but the difficulties at Kabul were not over. He 
had left his cousin, ' Abd-ar- Razzak, in command, 
with his natural want of suspicion, in spite of the 
fact that this cousin was the son of the late King 
Ulugh Beg, and had himself sat on the throne of Kabul. 
The ex-king offered no opposition when Babar returned 
to take over the government, but it would have been 
more than human if he had quite forgotten that he had 
once worn the crown himself. Had he been strictly loyal 
to his cousin, the rebellion which followed might not 


have taken place. Three thousand of the Mongol troops, 
remnants of Khusrau Shah's forces, rose in revolt, and 
proclaimed 'Abd-ar-Razzak king. They were tired 
of Babar's just rule, and resented his stern suppression 
of their innate habits of licence and marauding. The 
Mongols couldnot live without the diversions of plunder 
and rape, and a king who punished these excesses with 
death was not the sovereign for them. So ' Satan took 
possession of their brains, and in the place of sound 
reason substituted vainglory and villainy, the crop of 
cursed natures.' 

The idea of conspiracy and treachery was so utterly 
foreign to Babar's open nature, that for a time he refused 
to believe the rumours that were brought to him of 
plots and secret meetings, and was taken completely 
by surprise. At the Iron Gate he was all but cap- 
tured, and when he reached his camp outside the city 
he found himself so largely deserted by his men — some 
to join, others to flee from, the Mongols — that he could 
only muster five hundred horse. Even the camp bazar 
was plundered, and many of his trusty followers had 
hastened into Kabul, not from disaffection, but in the 
hope of rescuing their families from the horrors of a 
Mongol orgy. The Memoirs unfortunately break off at 
this critical moment, and Babar does not tell us himself 
of the exciting contest that ensued. We should give 
him credit for his usual courage : 

No thought of flight, 
None of retreat, no unbecoming deed 
That argued fear 


could be expected of Babar in such a strait ; but 
fortunately we have the testimony of his cousin Haidar, 
not only that the Emperor led his little force with his 
own unswerving pluck against the rebels, but that it 
was ' one of his greatest fights. After much giving 
and taking of blows and innumerable hand-to-hand 
conflicts, he broke and routed the foe. In that action he 
personally and alone engaged five different champions 
of the enemy, and with brave strokes and sword-cuts 
put them all to flight.' 

The would-be king, 'Abd-ar-Razzak, fell into the 
conqueror's hands, 'but was treated with generosity 
and set at liberty.' There is nothing in Babar's character 
more noble than his trustfulness and magnanimity to- 
wards his rivals, even after they had grossly deceived 
him. His brother Jahangir (whose drunken habits had 
before this brought him to the grave) had plotted against 
him, but Babar had treated him at Herat with all the 
affection and respect which he had justly forfeited. 
His other brother, Nasir, had stirred up many of the 
tribes to desert their sovereign, and had marched with 
them to Badakhshan in open rebellion, eager to found 
a separate kingdom ; and when he returned, broken 
and defeated, ' ashamed and distressed at his former 
doings,' his forgiving brother ' showed him not the 
least sign of displeasure, but . . . conversed with him, 
and showed him marks of regard, to dissipate his un- 
easiness and embarrassment.' He even trusted him 
with the command of Kandahar, and, when that was 
lost, with Ghazni. In the same large-hearted way he 


forgave his cousin c Abd-ar-Razzak. Rancour and bear- 
ing malice were feelings that Babar could not under- 
stand, at least against his kith and kin: he was 
sometimes implacable against other scoundrels, though 
seldom against any one who had ever served him. He 
would welcome back, over and over again, officers who 
had deserted him in his hour of misfortune ; and, far 
from bearing ill-will, when Mirza Haidar, son of the 
Dughlat Amir who had betrayed his trust at Kabul, 
sought refuge from the vengeance of Shaibani at his 
hospitable court, in utter destitution, Babar gave him 
a reception which the grateful historian never forgot, 
though he expresses his sentiments in the turgid 
manner of a Persian euphuist : — 

'When we reached Kabul we were received by Shirun 
Taghai, who was maternal uncle to the Emperor and myself, 
and one of the pillars of state. With a hundred marks of 
respect he invited me to his house, where I was entertained 
with distinction and kindness. Later the Emperor sent 
a message to say that after three days the happy hour would 
arrive when he would send for me . . . When I came into his 
presence the joy-diffusing glance of the Emperor fell upon 
me, and from the excess of his love and the intensity of his 
kindness, strung pearls and set rubies began to rain down 
upon me from his benign, jewel-scattering eye. He extended 
towards me the hand of favour and bade me welcome. 
Having first knelt down, I advanced towards him. He then 
clasped me to the bosom of affection, drew me to the breast 
of fatherly love, and held me thus for a while. When he let 
me go, he would no longer allow me to observe the formali- 
ties of respect, but made me sit down at his side. While we 
were thus seated he said to me with great benevolence: 


" Your father and brother and all your relations have been 
made to drink the wine of martyrdom ; but, thank God, you 
have come back to me again in safety. Do not grieve too 
much at their loss ; for I will take their place, and whatever 
favour of affection you could have expected from them, that 
and more will I show you." With such promises and tender- 
ness did he comfort me, so that the bitterness of orphanage 
and the poison of banishment were driven from my mind . . . 
How can I ever show sufficient thankfulness 1 May God 
reward him with good things. 

' Thus I passed a long time in the service of the Emperor, 
in perfect happiness and freedom from care ; and he was for 
ever, either by promises of kindness or by threats of severity, 
encouraging me to study. If he ever noticed any little virtue 
or new acquisition, he would praise it in the highest terms, 
commend it to everybody, and invite their approbation. All 
that time the Emperor showed me such affection and kind- 
ness as a fond father shows his son and heir. It was a hard 
day for me when I lost my father, but the bitterness of my 
desolation became scarcely perceptible owing to the blessed 
favours of the Emperor. From this time to the year 918 
[1508 to 15 1 2], I remained in his service. Whenever he 
rode out I had the honour of riding at his side, and when 
he received friends I was sure to be among the invited. In 
fact, he never let me be separated from him. When I was 
studying, for example, directly my lesson was over he would 
send some one to fetch me. And in this fatherly way did 
he continue to treat me till the end of my stay V 

The grateful recollections of this child, who lived 
with Babar from his eighth to his twelfth year, bear 
the stamp of truth and genuine feeling. There was 
another refugee at Kabul, who arrived a couple of weeks 

1 Tarikh-i-Rashidi, 228-230. 


before Mirza Haidar, and who enjoyed almost equal 
kindness at the Emperor's hands. This was Sa'id Khan, 
son of Ahmad Khan, Babar's Mongolian uncle. He, 
too, fled from Shaibani's wrath, and reaching Kabul 
towards the close of 1508, was at once welcomed with 
every mark of honour. He used to say in after years : 
' Those days that I spent in Kabul were the freest from 
care or sorrow of any that I have ever experienced, or 
ever shall experience. I spent two years and a half at 
the court of this excellent prince, in a continual suc- 
cession of enjoyments, and in the most complete 
abandonment to pleasure and absence of preoccupation. 
I was on friendly terms with all, and made welcome by 
all. I never suffered even a headache, unless from the 
effects of wine ; and never felt distressed or sad, except 
on account of the ringlets of some beloved one.' ' There 
existed,' adds Haidar, ' between these two great princes, 
perfect accord and love and trust 1 .' Sa'id Khan pos- 
sessed high rank and great influence, and, as events 
proved, might become a powerful rival ; but there was 
no trace of jealousy or suspicion in the Emperor's treat- 
ment of his guest. He was indeed a perfect host and 
an incomparable friend. 

Two or three years passed by : tranquillity reigned 
undisturbed at Kabul, whilst wars shook Persia and 
the Oxus regions almost to ruin. The cousin, Khan 
Mirza, who like others had once usurped Babar's 
throne and been deposed and forgiven, took himself 
off to found a viceroy alty in Badakhshan, and, doubt- 

1 Tarikh-i'Rashidi, 226. 


less to their host's relief, carried with him the intriguing 
grandmother Shah Begum, who came of the ancient stock 
of the Badakhshan kings, who traced their descent, they 
said, from Alexander the Great. Shah Begum went 
even further : ' It has been our hereditary kingdom,' 
she declared, c for 3,000 years. Though I, being a 
woman, cannot myself attain to the sovereignty, yet 
my grandson, Khan Mirza, can hold it. Males descended 
from me and my children will certainly not be rejected.' 
Nor were they, for Khan Mirza reigned in Badakhshan 
till his death, in faithful subjection to his cousin. 

Relieved of the presence of possible conspirators, 
the Emperor divided his time between the inevitable 
•' punitive expeditions ' against the Afghan tribes, the 
delights of great hunting parties, and the pleasure he 
always took in beautifying his capital and laying out 
gardens and parks. The continual round of enjoyments 
described by his visitor was no doubt shared to the full 
by the Emperor, the centre and life of his society ; but 
the break in the Memoirs from 1508 to 151 9 deprives 
one of the minute record of the daily occupations 
of the writer which is so full and interesting at other 
periods, and one is thrown back upon the imagination 
to fill in the picture from the analogy of earlier and 
later years. 


Samarkand once more 


In the midst of this uneventful interval, Babar was 
suddenly called to action. A messenger arrived at 
Kabul in the winter of 15 10 with a letter from Khan 
Mirza. It related how Shah Isma il, the new ruler 
of Persia, founder of the imperial Safavi line of Shahs, 
had fought and conquered Shaibani Khan, and how 
the Uzbegs were flying from Khurasan over the Amu 
to Kunduz. The passes were blocked with snow, but 
Babar heeded it not. He was once more inspired 
with the dream of his life, the dream of empire on 
Timur's throne ; mere obstacles of ice and snow were 
nothing to one spurred on by 

Ambition, the desire of active souls, 

That pushes them beyond the bounds of nature 

And elevates the Hero to the Gods. 

The recovery of a lost Eden was before his eyes, and 
he set off at once to join forces with the Persians, 
and give the final blow that should crush the great 
oppressor of his house. He did not then know that 
after the fatal battle near Merv, Shaibani was smothered 


amoDg a heap of dying men and horses, and his head 
was presented to Shah Isma fl, who had the skull set 
in gold for a drinking cup. In spite of this calamity, 
the Uzbegs had no thought of evading a battle with 
Babar, whatever they might have done had the Shah 
himself been at the front. Hamza Sultan, one of 
their chiefs, marched to meet him, but the two armies 
missed each other on the way, and each arrived at 
the other's camping-ground only to find it deserted. 
It was a game of cross-purposes, and each suspecting 
some insidious ruse on the part of the other, and 
being totally misinformed as to their respective 
strengths, beat a hasty retreat, thanking God for 
a merciful escape. 

The Uzbeg power was still very strong in Trans- 
oxiana ; though Shaibani was dead, his veteran 
captains still led the tribes ; and Babar could not 
venture to attack them until he was reinforced by 
a body of Turkman troops sent to his support by the 
Persian Shah. The enemy, still greatly superior in 
numbers, courted the issue of battle, and Babar with- 
drew at his top speed to a strong position in the 
mountain passes towards Abdara, where he awaited 
their attack. The battle took place early in 151 1. 
' At midnight news came that the Uzbegs were 
advancing in full force ; the commanders announced 
this simultaneously to the whole army, and up to 
daybreak every man was busy getting his arms 
ready. About sunrise our pickets came in and re- 
ported that the Uzbeg army was approaching. There- 



upon the Emperor mounted his horse and rode to the 
top of some rising ground.' 

And from their tents the Tartar horsemen filed 
Into the open plain. 

The enemy were deploying on the plain, and the only 
road by which they could approach was in a ravine 
between two hills. They preferred to climb one of 
the hills, rather than risk being shut up in the gorge. 
One of their chiefs led 10,000 men to the assault. 
Khan Mirza was given the post of honour, and he 
hurried to meet the climbing squadrons. The furious 
charge of the Uzbeg horse bore down every one before 
it, and they had almost reached the Mirza himself, 
when an opportune reinforcement saved the day. 

It was the boy Haidar who was thus proudly able 
to reward his benefactor. Babar had brought him 
most reluctantly from Kabul, only at his piteous 
entreaty not to be left behind ; on the way a number 
of Haidar's hereditary retainers had joined him, and 
these veterans Babar had hurriedly dispatched to the 
rescue of Khan Mirza. Haidar himself he kept at 
his side — ' you are still too young for such business ' 
he said — and one can imagine the eager joy of the 
young prince as he watched beside his patron and 
saw his men, his very own followers, rallying the 
Emperor's vanguard, and driving the enemy down 
the hill. It was a glorious moment for him, and when 
one of his own people brought the first prisoner to the 
Emperor, and Babar said, ' Inscribe the name of Mirza 
Haidar upon the first trophy,' he was radiantly happy. 


The battle raged all day on the left wing ; but when 
it grew dusk, and the enemy began to fall back, in 
order to pitch a camp near water, Babar's men seized 
the moment of confusion, and rushed down in hot 
pursuit, shouting Hail Hail at the top of their 
voices, and charging with reckless fury on the retiring 
squadrons. The result was a total rout ; the generals 
were captured and killed, and for a whole day the 
fugitives were hotly pressed. 

The end of the Uzbeg domination in Mawarannahr 
seemed at hand. They abandoned Karshi, they were 
driven out of Bukhara, they fled from Samarkand 
into the deserts of Turkistan. With the consent of his 
ally the Shah, Babar once more mounted the throne 
of Samarkand, which he had twice before filled. 
'All the inhabitants of the towns of Mawarannahr, 
high and low, nobles and poor men, grandees and 
artisans, princes and peasants, alike testified their 
joy at the advent of the Emperor. He was received 
by the nobles, while the others were busy with the 
decoration of the city. The streets and bazars were 
draped with cloth and gold brocades, and drawings 
and pictures were hung up on every side. The 
Emperor entered the city in the middle of the month 
of Rejeb in the year 917 [October, 15 n] in the midst 
of such pomp and splendour as no one has ever seen 
or heai'd of before or since.' 1 Never before had his 
dominions stretched so wide and far. From Tashkend 
and Sairain on the borders of the deserts of Tartary, 

1 Tarikh-i-Rashidi, 246. 
I % 


to Kabul and Ghazni near the Indian frontier, in 
Samarkand, Bukhara, Hisar, Kunduz, and Farghana, 
Babar was king. He abandoned all thoughts of 
India, despised his little Afghan throne, which he 
presented to his brother Nasir ; henceforth he resolved 
to reign in the seat of Timur on the imperial throne 
of Samarkand. 

But the triumph was short-lived. The fates had 
decreed that, try as he might, Babar should not hold 
Timur s sceptre. The obstacles were not all from 
without : they were partly of his own making. In 
the absence of his autobiographical reminiscences of 
this critical period, it is difficult to determine his 
exact position and policy, but from the statements 
of Haidar and Khwandamir, confirmed in a striking 
manner by a coin in the British Museum, it is evident 
that he held the throne of Samarkand as the vassal 
of Shah Isma 11, and that in dress and even in religious 
doctrine he conformed to the rule of his suzerain \ 
To Babar, who was an easy-going Muslim, too well 
read in Persian poetry to be shocked at heresy, the 
change probably meant very little, but to his subjects 
it represented the sort of effect that incense and 
monstrance would produce in an 'Auld Licht' kirk. 
For the Shah belonged to the fanatical Shiah sect, 
abhorred by orthodox Sunnites, whilst the people 
of Samarkand and Bukhara were the most bigoted 
Muslims of the straitest orthodoxy to be found outside 

1 Tarikh'i-Rashidi, 246, 259 ; R. Stuart Poole, Catalogue of Persian 


the Holy City of Medina. When they saw their 
Emperor and his followers going about in the garb 
of the ' red-heads ' (Kizilbash), with the symbolical 
twelve-pointed cap and its long puggaree of red cloth 
— the badge of schismatics ; when they fingered coins 
bearing the heretical formulas of the ' Shiah, and 
setting Shah Ismail's name in the place of honour 
above Babar's ; when they heard the orthodox Caliphs 
cursed from the pulpit, and saw their holy teachers 
murdered for steadfast non-juring: — their enthusiasm 
died away, their loyalty cooled, they lampooned their 
sovereign's strange disguise, and they began almost 
to regret the cruel tyranny of Shaibani, who might 
be a devil but was at least an orthodox fiend. 

Babar soon found that he had lost the support of 
his subjects, and a defeat at Kul Malik, where an 
Uzbeg leader with only 3,000 men repulsed the 
imperial army of 40,000, compelled him finally to 
abandon a throne which he dared not defend, and 
to fly, for the third and last time, from the city of 
his ambition. He left Samarkand in May, 151 2, 
after a reign, or viceroy alty, of only eight months. 
In vain the Shah sent him large reinforcements of 
60,000 ' red-heads ' under a savage and relentless 
general, whose cruelty disgusted his humane ally. 
Nothing could save him. The Uzbegs were not to 
be denied. At the last fight (November, 151 2) at 
Ghujduwan or Ghazdivan, taking advantage of every 
wall and cover, they ' began to pour forth their arrows 
from every corner, so that very soon the claws of 


Islam twisted the hands of heresy and unbelief, 
and victory declared for the true faith. . . . They 
sent Mir Najm and all the Turkman Amirs [of Persia] 
to hell,' 1 and it cannot be doubted that they deserved 
their fate. 

Babar fled, ' broken and crest-fallen,' to Hisar. Here 
the Mongols, turning, as usual, against the weaker 
side, revolted, attacked his quarters by night, and 
the Emperor, leaping out of bed, barely managed 
to escape into the fort. They had made proposals 
some time before to Sa'id Khan offering to make 
away with the Emperor in his favour ; but Sa'id had 
replied that when he was buffeted in the waves of 
calamity during the hurricane of Shaibani's con- 
quests, he had been saved upon the island of Babar's 
benevolence, and he could not play so ignoble and 
ungrateful a part towards his preserver. So rare an 
example of Mongol gratitude is worth recording ; but 
it did not prevent the revolt of the treacherous tribes- 
men, who now laid waste the whole province of Hisar, 
and squandered its wealth and crops and cattle. A 
terrible famine was the result of their devastating 
violence, ' the living ate the dead, and then fell upon 
one another.' A pestilence succeeded, and then winter 
came on with excessive severity ; there was a pro- 
tracted snowfall, till 'the plains became like hills 

1 Tarikh-i-Rashidi, 261. Even Haidar, as an orthodox Muslim, 
utterly condemns his beloved patron's traffic with heretics, and 
probably from this date there came a certain coolness between them. 
They never met again. 


and the hills like plains ' ; and at last the Uzbegs 
came to finish the work. They fell upon the Mongols, 
who threw themselves into the river Surkhab : ' most 
of the wretches passed through the water to the 
flames of hell ; some few escaped ; and all those who 
did not reach the river went to hell by way of the 
flashing scimitar. Those that survived were taken 
prisoners, and all the suffering that they had inflicted 
upon the people in Hisar during a whole year, God 
Almighty, by the hand of 'Obaid-Allah Khan, now 
caused to descend upon them in one hour.' 

Babar had watched these calamitous doings from 
his refuge at Kunduz, whither he had contrived to 
escape. From the summit of success and wide 
authority, he was reduced to great distress and even 
positive want. He had lost his kingdom, and the 
return of the Uzbegs deprived him even of the 
chance of recovering the province of Hisar. He 
might have claimed a suzerain's right, and taken 
Badakhshan from Khan Mirza ; but he was too generous 
for that. He ' bore the situation patiently, and ... at 
last despairing altogether of recovering Hisar, he re- 
turned to Kabul' in 1513 or 1514 1 . It was perhaps 
the bitterest experience of his life. He had barely 
regained the ancestral throne of Timiir, only to lose 
the respect of his subjects, to be worsted by the 
enemy, and to see his beloved country harried and 
destroyed by the Mongols whom he loathed. 

1 Tarikh-i-Rashidi, 260-263. 


Deprived of the ]ast hope of recovering his own 
land, the banished Emperor turned his eyes east- 
ward. Rejected by his countrymen, Babar might 
have said with St. Paul, ' Henceforth I turn to the 


The Invasion of India 


' From the time when I conquered the land of 
Kabul in 910 [1504-5] till now,' wrote Babar in 1526, 
'I had always been bent on subduing Hindustan. 
Sometimes, however, from the misconduct of my 
Amirs and their dislike of the plan, sometimes from 
the cabals and opposition of my brothers, I was 
prevented. . . At length these obstacles were removed ; 
there was no one left, high or low, gentle or simple, 
who could dare to urge a word against the enterprise. 
In 925 [151 9] I gathered an army, and taking the fort 
of Bajaur by storm in about an hour, put all the 
garrison to the sword. Then I advanced into Bhira, 
where I prevented all marauding and plunder, 
imposed a tax upon the inhabitants, and dividing 
the proceeds among my troops, returned to Kabul. 
From that time till 932 [1526], I specially devoted 
myself to the affairs of Hindustan, and in the space of 
these seven or eight years I entered it five times at 
the head of an army. The fifth time, God Most High, 
of His mercy and grace, cast down and defeated so 
powerful an enemy as Sultan Ibrahim, and made 


me master and conqueror of the mighty empire of 

So wrote the first Emperor of India after the 
memorable victory at Panipat, on the field where 
the fate of Hindustan has thrice been decided. He 
was apt to take the impression of the moment for 
a permanent conviction, and it may be questioned 
whether he had really set the conquest of India 
before his eyes ever since his arrival in Kabul. The 
evidence points to a much stronger attraction towards 
Samarkand. When that fervent ambition lay dead, 
killed by repeated failure and the indomitable ascen- 
dancy of the Uzbegs, then, and not before, did Babar's 
dreams of an Indian empire take distinct form. 
After that it was five years before he made the 
first move, and more than twenty years had passed 
since his conquest of Kabul, before he marched into 
Delhi. Men of his impetuous and daring nature do 
not stifle a burning ambition for twenty years, and it 
was only when a still more ardent hope was quenched 
that the alternative began to become urgent, and even 
then the plan took five years maturing. 

Those five years must have been spent in organizing 
his little kingdom, which had been allowed to degene- 
rate under the loose control of his youngest brother. 
Nasir Mirza went out to meet Babar with all honour, 
on his return from the ill-fated campaigns beyond the 
Oxus, and at once resigned the government, retiring to 
his former command at Ghazni, where drink, the pre- 
vailing vice of the Mongols, soon made an end of the 


weak voluptuary, as it had before of his brother Jahan- 
gir. A rebellion of his Mongol Begs followed upon his 
death, but Babar was by this time hardened to these 
periodical outbreaks, defeated the traitors in a pitched 
battle, and quickly suppressed the revolt. He had 
more troublesome work to reduce the hill tribes to 
order, and his success was only partial; but he 
secured the loyalty of the great clan of the Yiisufzais 
by marrying a daughter of one of their chiefs, and he 
received the submission of the rulers of Swat and 
Bajaur. At this point (15 19) the Memoirs, of which 
we have been deprived for a dozen important years, 
recommence (though only in a fragment covering 
twelve months), and the description of the siege of 
Bajaur — the prologue to the first act of the invasion 
of India — presents a vivid picture of the fighting 
of those days, and is peculiarly interesting for its 
account of the use of European (Feringi) artillery : — 

'On Thursday, 4 Muharram [Jan. 6, 1519], I ordered the 
troops to put on their armour, to prepare their weapons, and 
to mount ready for action. The left wing I ordered to 
proceed higher up than the fort of Bajaur, to cross the river 
at the ford, and to take their ground to the north of the 
fort ; I ordered the centre not to cross the river, but to 
station themselves in the broken and high grounds to the 
north-west ; the right wing was directed to halt to the west 
of the lower gate. When Dost Beg and the officers of the 
left wing halted after crossing the river, a hundred or 
a hundred and fifty foot sallied from the fort and assailed 
them with flights of arrows ; but they, for their part, 
received the attack, returned the volley, chased the enemy 


back to the fort and drove them under the ramparts. 
Maula of Khost madly pressed on his horse 
and galloped up to the foot of the wall ; and if scaling 
ladders and siege-shields had been ready we should have 
been inside the castle that moment . . . The people of Bajaur 
had never seen matchlocks, and at first were not in the least 
afraid of them, but, hearing the reports of the shots, stood 
opposite the guns, mocking and playing unseemly antics. 
But that day Ustad 'Ali Kuli [the chief gunner] brought 
down five men with his matchlock, and Wali Khazin killed 
two, and the other musketeers shot well and bravely, quitting 
their shields, mail, and " cowheads " [or penthouses], and 
aiming so truly that before night seven to ten Bajauris were 
laid low; whereupon the defenders of the fort became so 
frightened that not a man ventured to show his head for fear 
of the matchlocks. As it was now evening, orders were given 
that the troops should be drawn off for the present, but 
should prepare implements and engines for assaulting the 
fortress in the morning twilight. 

' On Friday, at the first dawn of light, orders were given 
to sound the kettle-drum for action. The troops all moved 
forward in the stations assigned to them, and invested the 
place. The left wing and centre having brought at once an 
entire tura [penthouse] from their trenches, applied the 
scaling ladders, and began to mount . . . Dost Beg's men 
reached the foot of a tower on the north-east of the fort, and 
began undermining and destroying the walls. Ustad 'Ali 
Kuli was also there, and that day too he managed his 
matchlock to good purpose ; the Feringi piece was twice 
discharged 1 . Wali Khazin also brought down a man with 

1 The Memoirs contain frequent references to the big guns 
(feringihd) of the master cannoneer Ustad 'Ali Kuli. In November, 
1526, we read of the casting of one of these. Babar was present 
at the operation. ' Around the place where it was to be cast were 


his matchlock. On the left of the centre, Malik Kutb 'Ali, 
having climbed the wall by a scaling-ladder, was for some 
time engaged hand to hand with the enemy ; at the lines of 
the main body, Muhammad c Ali Jangjang and his younger 
brother Naurdz, scaling a ladder, fought bravely with sword 
and spear; Baba Yasawal, going up another ladder, set 
about demolishing the parapet with his axe. Many of our 
men climbed boldly up, and plied the enemy with their arrows 
so that never a head was shown above the works ; others, 
despite all the enemy's exertions and harassments, despising 
their bows and arrows, busied themselves in breaking 

eight furnaces, . . . below each of which was a channel running 
down to the mould in which the gun was to be cast. On my 
arrival they opened the holes of all the furnaces ; the liquid metal 
flowed down by each channel, and entered the mould. After some 
time the flow of metal ceased, before the mould was full. There 
was some oversight. . . . Ustad 'Ali was in terrible distress, and 
like to throw himself into the molten metal. Having cheered him 
up and given him a robe of honour, we succeeded in softening 
his humiliation. Two days after, when the mould was cool, they 
opened it. Ustad 'Ali in great delight sent to tell me that the 
chamber of the gun for the shot was without a flaw, and that 
it was easy to form the powder chamber.' These guns, therefore, 
could be made in two pieces. Later on Babar went to see the 
gunner ' fire that same great gun of which the ball-chamber had 
been uninjured at the time of casting, and the powder-chamber 
of which he had afterwards cast and finished. ... It was discharged 
about afternoon prayers, and carried 1600 paces' — a remarkable 
performance for the time. In November, 1527, ' Ustad 'Ali fired 
a large ball from a cannon ; though the ball went far, the gun 
burst in pieces.' Eight men were killed. In February, 1528, we 
find cannon used to protect a pontoon party, and for three or four 
days Ustad 'Ali contrived to discharge his gun sixteen times a day, 
which Babar considered remarkably good. These large cannon, 
of which there were evidently very few in any of Babar's battles, 
were supplemented by casting machines, such as stone-slings and 
mangonels. (See Memoirs, E. and L., 343, 344, 351, 374, 379.) 


through the walls and demolishing the defences. It was 
breakfast time (chast) when the tower on the north-east, 
which Dost Beg's men were undermining, was breached; 
whereat the enemy were forthwith driven in, and the tower 
was taken. At this moment the men of the main body, 
scaling the walls, also entered the fort. By God's favour 
and grace we took this strong castle in a couple of hours.' 

It is a piteous story : the unhappy Bajauris with 
their bows and arrows could make no stand against 
the mysterious, matchlocks, primitive as they were ; 
and their smoking muzzles and sharp reports, and the 
heavy boom of the strange c Feringi ' cannon, must 
have produced a consternation like black magic. 
The end was still worse: ' As the men of Bajaur were 
rebels, rebels to the followers of Islam, and as, besides 
their rebellion and hostility, they followed the customs 
and usages of the infidels, while even the name of 
Islam was extirpated among them, they were all put 
to the sword, and their wives and families made 
prisoners. Perhaps upwards of 3,000 were killed.' 
Babar records the brutal massacre with righteous 
satisfaction; despite his generosity and nobility of 
character, the savage Mongol nature peeps out some- 
times. He cut off the heads of the chiefs, and sent 
them to Kabul as trophies of victory ; a pyramid of 
skulls was built near the ill-fated fortress. Bringing in 
heads was an honourable feat among Babar's fellows, 
and we read of the distress of a scout who success- 
fully cut off an Afghan's head, but had the misfortune 
to mislay it on his way back. Later, in India, when 


an attempt was made to poison him, the Emperor took 
a bloody revenge : the taster was cut in pieces, the 
cook flayed alive, a woman trampled under the ele- 
phants, and another woman shot. Cultured in the 
humanities, Babar sometimes forgot to be humane. 

From Bajaur the Emperor marched east through 
Bunir, and fording the Indus, on Feb. 17, 1519, above 
Attok, followed by his infantry on rafts, he pushed on 
into the Panjab, intending to occupy Bhira, which then 
lay on the west of the Jhilam. ' We were always full 
of the idea of invading Hindustan,' he says ; ' and as 
Bhira was upon the borders and near at hand, I 
conceived that if I were now to push on without 
baggage, the soldiers might light upon some booty.' 
He arrived there without opposition ; levied a contri- 
bution of over £16,000 on the inhabitants, and sternly 
suppressed all excesses on the part of his soldiers. 
He claimed the Panjab as his inheritance in right of 
Timur's conquest and occupation more than a century 
before — he had been reading the Zafar Ndma to 
refresh his memory of his great ancestor's campaigns 
— and ' as I reckoned the countries that had belonged 
to the Turks as my own territories, I permitted no 
plundering or pillage.' Conscious of his right, such 
as it was, he even sent an ambassador to explain the 
situation to the King of Delhi, the actual sovereign of 
the Panjab, but the envoy was detained at Lahore, 
and sent back with his mission unfulfilled. 

Having secured the submission of Bhira, Khushab, 
'the country of Chenab' — probably between the rivers 


Jhilam and Chenab — Babar appointed governors from 
among his Begs, and set out for Kabul. He had, so 
to speak, 'pegged out a claim' in the north of the 
Panjab, but he must have been well aware that it 
was liable to be 'jumped' — as indeed it was, the 
moment his back was turned. His army of at most 
2,coo men was not equal to larger efforts, his horses 
were done up, and his chief object had been plunder, 
of which he had no cause to complain. On his way 
back he passed north of the Salt Range, and after 
a sharp skirmish with the Gakars, took their capital, 
Perhala, and received the submission of several tribes. 
He doubtless reached Kabul by the Kuram pass. 
The expedition had not been fruitless, though it left 
no very permanent traces. 

A very singular fact appears prominently throughout 
Babar's diary of this campaign. In spite of arduous 
and responsible duties, he confesses, with his unique 
frankness, that he was frequently intoxicated, and 
had become indeed a regular, systematic, deliberate 
drunkard. As we have seen, before his visit to his 
cousins at Herat he had never tasted wine, and though 
he was sorely tempted to begin among such jovial 
boonfellows, the influence of his prime minister seems 
to have checked him. We hear nothing of his drinking 
until January of this year, 15 19, when we read of his 
enjoying the wine of Kafiristan at the castle of Bajaur. 
A few days later he is eating the ' pleasant, but highly 
inebriating Kimdl ' — apparently a powerful species of 
tipsy-cake — which affected him so 'strangely' that he 


could not attend his council. Soon afterwards we find 
him taking a bolus (maj'un), or in other words eating 
hemp or hashish, called in India bhang. Late in life 
he took opium, which made him very sick ; but as 
a rule arack, wine, and bhang served his purpose — 
anything but beer, which he could not stomach. 

There is no telling when he began these habits, but 
by 151 9 he was a steady toper. The least thing serves 
him as an excuse. He sees a lovely view — and has 
a drinking party ; or ' the crops were uncommonly 
fine' — another bout; 'I had an early cup by Kabil's 
tomb ' ; at noon-day prayers l — a drinking party ; 
after evening prayers — a drinking party ; a tribute 
offering arrives — he takes his bhang lozenge ; he cuts 
his hair — a bout ensues ; the Bagh-i-Wafa was such 
a beautiful spot that 'we drank a quantity of wine, 
and took our regular morning cup: when I had no 
drinking parties I had parties for bhang.' Sailing on 
a raft, he ' drank all the way.' His friends would 
gather round him under the Tal trees, among the 
orange groves, or beside a canal ; the musicians 
played, and they drank till they were merry. It was 
a rule that every man who sang a Persian song — one 
of Babar's own composition, sometimes — should have 
his glass, and every one who sang a Turki song, 
another ; but on rare occasions it was enacted that if 

1 The frequent reference to prayers in connexion with his 
drinking bouts does not imply any profanity. The stated hours 
of prayer form the usual divisions of the Muhammadan day, like 
the primes and nones of Europe. 



a man became drunk, he must be removed, and 
another take his place. 

As every one knows, when Orientals drink at all, 
they generally do it, not for the bouquet, or for gentle 
exhilaration, but for the express purpose of getting 
drunk. This was Babar s case. In the course of the 
return march from the Panjab we read: 'About the 
time of noon-day prayers, I mounted to take a ride, and 
afterwards going on board a boat, we had a drinking 
bout. . . We continued drinking spirits in the boat 
till bed-time prayers, when, being utterly drunk, we 
mounted, and, taking torches in our hands, came at 
full gallop back to the camp from the river- side, 
falling sometimes on one side of the horse, and some- 
times on the other. I was miserably drunk, and next 
morning, when they told me of our having galloped 
into camp with lighted torches in our hands, I had not 
the slightest recollection of it.' The Memoirs are full 
of the oddest bacchanalian scenes ; for example : — 

' Towards the bow of the vessel a space was roofed in. It 
had a level platform above, and I and some others sat on the 
top of it. A few others sat below the scaffolding. Towards 
the stern of the ship, too, there was a place for sitting: 
Muhammadi, with Gedai and Na'man, sat there. "We con- 
tinued drinking spirits till after noon-prayers. Disliking 
the spirits, we then took to bhang. Those who were at the 
other end of the vessel did not know that we were taking 
bhang, and continued to drink spirits. About night prayers 
we left the vessel, and mounting our horses returned late to 
camp. Muhammadi and Gedai, thinking that I had been 
taking nothing but spirits, and imagining that they were 


doing an acceptable service, brought me a pitcher of liquor, 
carrying it by turns on their horses. They were extremely 
drunk and jovial when they brought it in. "Here it is," 
they said ; " dark as the night is, we have brought a pitcher. . 
We carried it by turns." They were informed that we had 
been using a different tiling. The bhang-takers and spirit- 
drinkers, as they have different tastes, are very apt to take 
offence with each other. I said, " Don't spoil the cordiality 
of the party ; whoever wishes to drink spirits, let him drink 
spirits ; and let him that prefers bhang take bhang ; and let 
not the one party give any idle or provoking language to the 
other." Some sat down to spirits, some to bhang. The 
party went on for some time tolerably well. Baba Jan, 
the player on the kabuz, had not been in the boat ; we had 
sent for him when we reached the royal tents. He chose to 
drink spirits. As the spirit-drinkers and bhang-takers 
never can agree in one party, the spirit-bibbers began to 
indulge in foolish and idle talk, and to make provoking 
remarks on bhang and bhang-takers. Baba Jan, too, getting 
drunk, talked very absurdly. The tipplers filling up glass 
after glass for Tardi Muhammad, made him drink them off, 
so that in a very short time he was mad drunk. Whatever 
exertions I could make to preserve peace were all unavailing ; 
there was much uproar and wrangling. The party became 
quite burdensome and unpleasant, and soon broke up.' 

It was worse on November 1-2, when they began 
drinking in the Emperor's tent in the morning, kept 
at it till night, and the following morning took the 
customary cup, and 'getting intoxicated, went to 

' About noon-day prayers we left Istalif, and I took a bolus 
(of bhang) on the road. . . . While I was riding round the 

K 2 


harvest fields, such of my companions as were fond of wine 
began to contrive another drinking bout. Although I had 
taken bhang, yet as the crops were uncommonly fine, we sat 
down under some trees that had yielded a plentiful load of 
fruit, and began to drink. We kept it up there till bed- 
time prayers/ 

Ten days later we find an extraordinary picture 
of the Emperor's pleasures. They had left the 
Charbagh Palace about noon, and dismissing their 
servants, arrived late, 'about the time of the first 
sleep,' at their friend Tardi Beg's underground conduit, 
whence that choice spirit — who, by the way, began 
life as a dervish, and ended as a distinguished 
general — hastened forth to greet them. 

' I well knew,' writes Babar, ' Tardi Beg's thoughtless, 
profuse turn, and that he did not dislike his glass. I had 
brought about four guineas with me, and gave them to him 
to get wine and everything ready for an entertainment, as 
I wished to make merry with some jolly companions. He 
set out for Behzadi to fetch wine, and 1 sent my horse by 
one of his servants to graze in the valley while I sat near the 
water-course on a rising ground. It was past nine when 
Tardi Beg came back with a pitcher of wine, and we set 
about drinking it. While he was fetching it Muhammad 
Kasim Barlas and Shahzada, who had guessed what he was 
after but did not suspect that I was in the affair, dogged 
him on foot : so we invited them to join the party. Tardi 
Beg said that Hulhulanka wished to drink with us, and 
I said, " I have never seen a woman drink wine : call her 
in." He also sent for a kalandar [dervish], called Shahi, 
and a man belonging to the water-works, who played the 


rebeck. We sat drinking wine on the hill behind the 
water-run till evening prayers ; then we went to Tardi 
Beg's house, and drank by candlelight till after bed-time 
prayers. It was a wonderfully amusing and guileless 

Yet Babar was up and mounted at the roll of the 
kettle-drum, and reached his first halt before sunrise. 
He must have possessed an amazing constitution to 
survive this treatment. After two more nights of 
revelry we find him standing in rapt contemplation 
before an apple-tree, admiring the exquisite colours of 
the autumn leaves, ' which no painter, however skilful, 
could depict.' He is always curiously observant of the 
beauties of nature ; he delights in the discovery of 
spikenard, which he had not found before ; and he is 
never weary of expatiating on the loveliness of the 
flowers in his favourite gardens. Dissipation never 
dulled his appreciation of such delights, or his pleasure 
in poetry and music : — 

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough, 
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and Thou 

Beside me singing in the Wilderness ! 
Oh ! Wilderness were Paradise enow ! 

Nor did he lose his nerve, for in the midst of this 
debauchery he joins vigorously in hunting 'the arm'd 
rhinoceros and th' Hyrcanian tiger.' He does not 
seem in the least ashamed of his excesses — on the 
contrary he often winds up a tale of unconscionable 
revelry with the words, ' It was a rare party,' or, as 


above, 'a wonderfully amusing and guileless party.' 
Evidently he agreed that — 

Man, being reasonable, must get drunk ; 
The best of life is but intoxication. 

When he had fever, indeed, he was forced to 
abstain, but even then nothing would satisfy him but 
his friends must come and drink in his room, so that 
he might study the effects of wine upon different 
temperaments from the critical point of view of strict 

He was, however, fastidious in deportment, even 
in drinking, and required that his friends, however 
drunk they might be, should * carry their liquor like 
gentlemen.' When they grew uproarious with 'the 
turbulent mirth of wine,' or foul-mouthed, or idiotic, 
he was disgusted. Eeprobate as he was in this 
respect, he had his code of morals. He never pressed 
a man to drink who did not wish it, and he refused 
to hold a bout in a private house when his host, a kazi, 
protested that such a thing as wine had never been 
seen there. Clearly he was a man of scruples — on 
occasion. Moreover he appears to have been always 
able to resist temptation when work was to the fore. 
We never hear of his being in the slightest degree 
overcome or incapable when his army needed his 
command, or the enemy were at hand ; and we may 
be sure that if it had happened he would have told 
us with the utmost candour. He could never have 
waged his later wars in India unless he had held 



himself in hand, and accordingly we hear little of 
drinking parties when once he was on the campaign. 

He seems, indeed, to have entered upon his course 
of regular intemperance with a deliberate intention of 
carrying it on for a definite period. 'As I intended,' 
he says in 1519, 'to abstain from wine at the age of 
forty, and as I now wanted somewhat less than a year 
of that age, I drank wine most copiously.' Undoubtedly 
he made the most of the interval, but unhappily he did 
not stick to his word. There is another gap in the 
Memoirs from 1520 to 1525, but as we find him hard 
at the wine-jar at the latter date, there can be little 
doubt that he had never really left off. In December, 
1525, however, he had a serious warning ; he took fever 
and dysentery, and began to spit blood. In his alarm 
he made many virtuous resolutions. 'I knew,' he 
writes, ' whence this illness proceeded, and what 
conduct had brought on this chastisement ' ; and he 
quotes verses in Arabic and Turki to prove the sure 
penalty of breaking a vow. ' I now once more com- 
posed myself to penitence and self-control ; I resolved 
to abstain from such idle thoughts and unseemly 
pleasures,' and even to renounce poetry and break his 
pen, in contrition for the quantity of frivolous verse he 
had thoughtlessly scribbled. But two or three days 
later he was better, and was so charmed with the view 
of the camp-fires flickering in the valley beneath his 
tent one night, that he felt that a libation was distinctly 
due to the scenery. 

Babar's revels would be merely gross and revolting 


but for this touch of romance and sentiment. His 
enjoyment of wine was but a part of his delight 
in everything that was beautiful, everything that 
heightened the quickness of the senses and touched 
the emotions. On the side of a hill near Kabul he 
built a little cistern of red granite, which was filled 
from time to time with red wine. Here he would sit 
and drink, while the fairest maidens sang and danced 
around. On the sides of the cistern were chiselled 
these lines : — 

Sweet is the New Year's coming, 

Sweet the smiling Spring, 

Sweet is the juice of the mellow grape, 

Sweeter far the voice of Love. 

O Babar, seize life's pleasures, 

Which, once departed, can never, alas ! return. 

It was not till February 25, 1527, that he carried 
his good resolution into effect, and, once made, the re- 
form was final. He was near Sikri, preparing for the 
decisive battle with Eana Sanga, when, perhaps as 
a prophylactic or propitiation to the God of Victories, 
who could scarcely favour a Muslim who indulged in 
forbidden vice, he suddenly determined to carry out 
his long-deferred repentance. He sent for all his gold 
and silver drinking cups, and smashed them in pieces, 
and gave the fragments to the poor. ' I renounced the 
use of wine,' he said, 'purifying my mind/ Three 
hundred of his followers did the like, and the store of 
wine in the camp was poured out upon the earth, and 
an almshouse was built upon the spot. An eloquent 


imperial rescript was indited by Shaikh Zain-ad-din, 
calling upon the people, in florid rhetoric, to follow 
this example, so that ' in all the regions protected by 
our sway, God keeping watch to guard them from all 
evil and enmity, there may not be a creature who 
shall indulge in intoxicating liquor, or employ himself 
in procuring or making spirits or in selling them, or 
who shall purchase them, keep them, or carry them out 
or bring them in.' To signalize this great reform 
Babar remitted the tamgha, or stamp-tax, from all 
Muslims throughout his dominions. He never took 
wine again. 

Some notice of Babar's intemperance is essential in 
any sketch of his life. For many years it was a 
prominent part of his daily routine, and fills the 
largest place in his diary. Without attempting to 
moralize, we may remark that drunkenness was the 
hereditary vice of his race and his family, that he did 
not succumb to it till he was near thirty, and that he 
made the grand renunciation, which to many men 
seems to be impossible, at the age of forty-four. It 
will have been noticed too that he always tippled in 
company, in a jolly group of f noble and illustrious 
drinkers/ after a healthy Rabelaisian fashion, and 
evidently regarded the wine as an accessory, though 
a most necessary and delightful accessory, to a merry 
meeting. His intemperance was really a part of his 
gay, genial, sunny nature. He was bon camarade to 
his many friends, and among them it was a mark of 
good comradeship to pledge one another in the bowl. 


If he often degraded himself in times of idleness, he 
knew how to stop when there was work afoot, and he 
was able to conquer his vice in a supreme and final 
act of penitence. 

The events of 1 520-1 525 may be passed over rapidly. 
We have not the brilliant illumination of the Memoirs 
for these years, and the records of other historians are 
meagre. Two changes materially strengthened Babar's 
position : on the death of his cousin Khan Mirza in 
1520, the Emperor's eldest son, Humayun, was ap- 
pointed to the government of Badakhshan, and Babar 
himself visited this province, accompanied by the 
young prince's mother ; and in September, 1522, 
Kandahar, which he had long sought to annex, 
and had lately besieged twice, was surrendered to 
him by the Arghun chief, Shah Beg, who had found 
the Emperor a dangerous neighbour, and so had 
sought a new province to rule in Sind. Babar's 
territory now extended from the Upper Oxus to the 
Garmsir or 'hot region' on the Persian frontier; he 
was in no risk of attack upon his flanks, and could 
advance upon India with security. He had indeed 
twice made incursions 1 into the Panjab since his first 

1 Authorities differ about the enumeration of Babar's invasions 
of India, though all agree in making them five, as stated in his 
own Memoirs. Some reckon the early reconnaissance, or tour 
of inspection in 1505, as the first invasion, though he did not cross 
the Indus. Babar himself clearly regarded the Bajaur and Bhira 
expedition of 1519 as the first invasion ; but the break in his 
Memoirs from January, 1520, to November, 1525, leaves some 
uncertainty about the second and third, and indeed Erskine casts 
doubt upon the second altogether. 


annexation of Bhira ; but of the second raid we know 
nothing very certainly; and the third, in 1520, when he 
again marched through the Gakars' country, punished 
the rebels who had revolted in and about Bhira, and 
pushed on to Sialk6t, was abruptly checked by news 
of an attack on his territory by the Arghuns of 
Kandahar, which caused his immediate return, and 
led to the subjugation of that city. It was not till 
1524 that he entered resolutely upon the campaigns 
which ended in the conquest of Hindustan. 



When Babar at last invaded India in force he was 
attacking an organized kingdom. It was no longer 
a case of wild Mongol or Uzbeg tribes ; he had to 
face a settled civilization supported by a disciplined 
and numerous army. Since the time, five hundred 
years before, when Mahmud of Ghazni first carried 
the standards of Islam over northern India, and left 
a permanent lodgement in the Panjab to his successors, 
six dynasties had upheld the Muhammadan rule in 
Hindustan, and had extended its sway from Multan 
to the Gulf of Bengal, and from the Himalayas to 
the Vindhya mountains, and even into parts of the 
Deccan. The last of these dynasties, that of the L6di 
Afghans, was now represented by Sultan Ibrahim, 
who ruled a considerable kingdom from his capital 
at Delhi. It was, however, greatly shrunk in com- 
parison with former centuries. The rise of indepen- 
dent states had cut off Bengal, Jaunpiir, Malwa, and 
Gujarat, from the parent crown, and though the 
1 Kings of the East ' had lately been dethroned and 
their state of Jaunpur recovered, the King of Delhi 
was by no means the king of all Muhammadan India, 

PANIPAT . 157 

to say nothing of the powerful Rajput principalities. 
Sikandar Lddi, the father of Ibrahim, however, had 
been a vigorous ruler, and had annexed territories to 
the east and south, and compelled some of the Hindu 
Rajas to pay him homage ; so that he left his son 
an extended realm, including what we now call the 
Panjab, North- West Provinces and Oudh, Bihar, and 
a portion even of Rajputana. The organization of 
the kingdom, however, made against unity. It was 
parcelled into innumerable principalities and fiefs 
(jdgirs), ruled by hereditary chieftains, or by zemin- 
ddrs appointed from Delhi, all of which tended to 
create a separate loyalty and obedience, apart from 
the supreme power. The great fiefs were in the 
hands of leading Afghans, and the race is not cele- 
brated for subordination. The early events of 
Sultan Ibrahim's reign (15 18 ff.) had increased the 
tendency to separation. The kingdom had been 
divided between him and his brother ; civil war was 
the result, the Amirs had taken sides, and when 
victory declared for Ibrahim, his severe treatment 
of many of the Afghan chiefs stirred up general 
disaffection. Whole provinces rose in revolt, and 
among them was the Panjab, whose powerful 
governor, Daulat Khan, declared his independence. 

At this juncture, a royal prince of the Delhi house, 
'Ala-ad-din, commonly called 'Alam-Khan, uncle of 
Sultan Ibrahim, fled to Babar at Kabul and entreated 
him to help him to the throne of his ancestors. 
Hardly had he made his appeal when Daulat Khan 


invited the Emperor to come to his aid in the Panjab. 
No more propitious moment could be desired. India 
was seething with faction and discontent ; Babar was 
strong and prepared, and at his side was a member 
of the L6di family to sanction his plans and invite 
adhesion. The Emperor was soon on the march, and 
following his previous route to Bhira was quickly in 
the neighbourhood of Lahore. The insurgent governor, 
Daulat Khan, had already been driven out by the 
Delhi army, but he was amply avenged by the 
Kabul troops, who routed the enemy with heavy 
slaughter, and chased them through the streets of 
Lahore, plundering and burning the bazar. Babar 
only rested four days in the capital of the Panjab, 
and then pressed on at his best speed to Dibalpur, 
where he stormed and sacked the town, and massacred 
the garrison. Here Daulat Khan joined him ; but 
suspicion of the governor's good faith was aroused, 
and though treated leniently, he was so little satisfied 
with the minor fief allotted him by his ally, instead 
of the whole province, that he fled to the hills to 
mature plans of vengeance. This defection, natural 
enough in the circumstances, brought Babar back 
from his march upon Delhi. The Panjab must be 
secured against its old governor before any further 
advance could be risked. He appointed some of his 
most trusty officers to defend the province, and having 
established 'Sultan' ' Ala-ad-din at Dibalpur (with 
a veteran Mongol to watch him), the Emperor returned 
to Kabul to beat up reinforcements. 

P J NIP AT , 159 

The moment Babar was out of the way, Daulat 
Khan took the field, drove 'Ala-ad-din out of Dibalpur, 
and compelled the Turkish officers to concentrate at 
Lahore. 'Ala-ad-din fled straight to Kabul, where 
he offered to cede to Babar the Panjab if he would 
aid him in seizing the throne of Delhi. The treaty- 
was arranged ; and armed with the Emperor's promise 
of immediate support, the pretender hastened back 
to Lahore. Babar himself was delayed by some 
trouble on the Uzbeg border, but set out on his fifth 
and last invasion of India in November, 1525. His 
eldest son, Humaytin, brought a contingent from 
Badakhshan, and Khwaja Kalan, trustiest of generals, 
led the troops of Ghazni. It was the largest army 
Babar had ever commanded in Hindustan, yet the 
total muster, including camp followers, did not exceed 
twelve thousand men. On crossing the Jhilam he 
was joined by part of the Lahore army, which had 
been seriously weakened by an ill-advised march, 
under 'Ala-ad-din, upon Delhi, ending in a panic and 
disgraceful flight. Sialk6t had been lost, and Babar's 
generals were assembled at Lahore in the hope of 
making a stand. Daulat Khan, after deceiving 'Ala- 
ad-din with pretended support, was now in the field 
at the head of 40,000 men, and the old Afghan had 
girded on two swords in token of his resolve to win 
or die. Nevertheless this valiant army broke and 
vanished at Babar's approach. When he reached 
the banks of the Ravi, where the enemy's camp 
had been, he found no one to oppose him. A light 


detachment was sent in pursuit of the fugitives, and 
the old Khan was compelled to surrender himself, 
with the two swords still hanging round his neck. It 
was the last appearance of Daulat Khan, for though 
his conqueror contented himself with administering 
a severe upbraiding, and spared his life, the old man 
died on his way to his village. 

Having disposed of this double traitor, and restored 
order in the Panjab, the Emperor continued his march 
towards Delhi, attended by 'Ala-ad-din, whom, so 
long as he was useful, he treated with politic re- 
spect. Proceeding by way of Sirhind and Ambala, 
in February, he learned that Sultan Ibrahim was 
already coming to meet him, supported by a second 
force from Hisar- Firiiza. This latter was effectually 
dispersed by Humayun, in his maiden battle ; the town 
was plundered, and Babar had a hundred prisoners 
shot, as a warning to the enemy. Heartened by this 
little victory, he went on by Shahabad, and followed 
the Jamna for two marches, till he came within touch 
of the enemy. It is characteristic that even at this 
momentous crisis of his career, Babar found time to 
visit a fountain at Sirsawa, 'rather a pretty place,' 
and to cruise in a boat on the river under an awning, 
not without the solace of a drug. But he was keenly 
on the alert, and sent a strong detachment across the 
river to dislodge the King of Delhi's cavalry outpost, 
which was driven in and pursued to the edge of the 
royal camp, with the loss of some elephants and 
prisoners (April i). 

PANIPAT , 161 

The decisive battle was fought on April 21st, 1526, 
on the plain at Panipat — the historic site where the 
throne of India has been thrice won. For several 
days Babar was busy with his preparations ; he 
collected seven hundred gun-carts, and formed a 
laager by linking them together with twisted bull- 
hides, to break a cavalry charge, and by arranging 
hurdles or shields (tura) between each pair to protect 
the matchlock men \ Then two marches more brought 

1 At first sight it seems improbable that Babar could have 
possessed seven hundred mounted field pieces, and this led M. 
Pavet de Courteille (Mem., ii. 273) to dissent from Erskine's ren- 
dering • gun-carriages,' and to substitute ' chariots/ The question, 
however, is definitely set at rest by the following passage in the 
Tarikh-i-Rashidi (474), where Mirza Haidar describes, as an eye- 
witness, the artillery of Humayun's army at the great battle with 
Shir Khan at Kanauj in May, 1540 — only fourteen years after 
the victory at Panipat : ' Among the equipments,' he says, 'which 
were in the train of the Emperor were seven hundred carriages 
(garduri), each drawn by four pair of bullocks, and carrying 
a swivel (zarb-zan) which discharged a ball (kalola) of 500 miskdls 
weight [about 5! lbs. av.]. . . . And there were twenty-one 
carriages, each drawn by eight pair of bullocks. Stone balls 
were of no use in these, but the shot were of molten brass weigh- 
ing 5,000 miskdls [52 lbs.], and the cost of each was 200 miskdls 
of silver. They would strike anything visible at the distance 
of a farsakh [? 4 miles]. . . . The proper plan would be for us to place 
the mortars and swivels in front ; and the gunners, nearly 
5,000 in number, must be stationed with the guns. . . . The 
carriages and mortars and small guns were placed in the centre. 
The command of the guns was given to Muhammad Khan Rumi, 
to the sons of Ustad f Ali Kuli, to Ust&d Ahmad Rumi, and 
Husain Khalifa. They placed the carriages and mortars in their 
proper position, and stretched chains between them.' Baggage- 
wagons were probably used to supplement gun-carriages in forming 
a breastwork. Babar frequently mentions that the arrangement 
of his chained carriages was copied from the ' Rumi,' i. e. Osmanli, 



the army to Panipat. Here he stationed the army 
in such a way that he had the town on his right ; his 
centre was formed by the cannon and matchlocks ; 
and the left was strengthened by ditches and abatis 
of trees. He was careful to leave gaps in his line 
a bowshot apart, through which a hundred or a 
hundred and fifty men could charge abreast. 

In spite of every careful disposition, and the con- 
fidence in their general which long experience had 
confirmed, Babar's men were far from cool. They were 
months' journeys distant from their homes — always 
an unsettling reflection in an Oriental army — and in 
front of them the King of Delhi was believed to 
muster a hundred thousand troops, with nearly a 
hundred elephants. On the other hand, Sultan 
Ibrahim was no match in generalship for Babar, 
who describes him contemptuously as 'an inex- 
perienced young man, careless in his movements, 
who marched without order, halted or retired without 

order of battle. Now at the battle of Khaldiran in 1514, between 
the Osmanlis and the Persians, the former not only chained their 
guns together, but ' set up their usual breastwork of baggage- 
wagons and camels in front of the Janizaries' (Hammer, Geschichte 
des Osmanischen Eeiches, i. 717). The Osmanlis, therefore, used 
a wagon laager in the centre as well as chained guns at the 
extremities of their line of battle, and Babar probably copied 
both arrangements. Mr. Oman tells me that the use of war-carts, 
formed and manoeuvred in hollow squares, was invented by the 
Hussites in the Bohemian wars to resist the German cavalry. The 
horses were taken out and the carts chained together on the 
approach of the enemy, and men with hand-guns were mounted on 
the carts. The Osmanlis doubtless copied the Bohemians, and 
handed on the idea to the Persians, and thence to Babar. 

PANIPAT , 163 

method, and engaged without foresight.' The fact 
that the invaders were suffered to go on entrenching 
themselves at Panipat for over a week without moles- 
tation was proof of the incompetence as well as the 
timidity of the enemy, who even suffered a little band 
of the imperial troops to insult them by riding up to 
their camp and shooting arrows into it, with perfect 
impunity. That week, when the two armies lay 
facing each other, was wholly in Babar' s favour : it 
gave his men time to recover confidence. 

On the 2cth of April a night surprise was attempted 
upon the enemy's position, and though it failed, owing 
to the confusion of the troops in the darkness, it had 
the effect of drawing the enemy out of his camp. 
Sultan Ibrahim, elated by the ease with which this 
attack had been driven back, brought his army out 
at dawn on the 21st in battle array. The moment 
Babar detected the movement of the enemy, his men 
were ordered to put on their helmets and mail, and 
take up their stations. His army was drawn up 
behind his laager in the usual order, right and left 
centre, right and left wing, advance guard, and re- 
serve ; but in addition he had placed flanking parties 
of Mongols on the extreme right and left, with orders 
to execute their famous national manoeuvre, the 
tulughma — that rapid wheel, charging the enemy's 
rear, of which Babar had himself proved only too 
thoroughly the tremendous effect. 

The army of Delhi came straight on, at a quick 
march, without a halt from the start. They seemed 

L 1 


to be aiming at Babar's right, and he sent up the 
reserve to its support. As the enemy came up to 
the ditches, abatis, and hurdles, they hesitated, and 
the pressure of the troops behind threw them into 
some confusion. Taking advantage of this, Babar 


sent out his Mongol flankers through the gaps in 
the laager, and they galloped round the enemy and 
poured their arrows into the rear. Part of the 
Emperor's left wing, advancing incautiously, got into 
difficulties ; but the general's eye was on them, and 
they were promptly supported from the centre. Mean- 
while the right was also hard pressed, and Babar sent 
forward his right centre to their assistance. The master 
gunner, Ustad 'Ali, made pretty practice with his 
feringi pieces, in front of the line, and was admirably 
seconded by Mustafa, the cannoneer on the left centre. 
The enemy was now engaged on all sides, front, flanks, 
and rear ; and their charges, which seemed ineffective 
to men who had stood up to the Mongols' swoop, were 
easily repulsed and driven back upon their centre, 
which was already too crowded to be able to use its 
strength. In this jammed confusion they lay at the 
mercy of the hardy Turks and Mongols, who fell upon 
the strangled ranks with deadly effect. By noon the 
great army of the King of Delhi was broken and 
flying for dear life. Sultan Ibrahim himself lay stark 
on the field, amidst some fifteen thousand of his dead. 
They brought his head to Babar ; and prisoners, 
elephants, and spoil of all sorts began to come in from 
the pursuers. ' The sun had mounted spear-high when 

PANIPAT ' 165 

the onset began, and the battle lasted till mid-day, 
when the enemy were completely broken and routed, 
and my people victorious and triumphant. By the 
grace and mercy of Almighty God this difficult affair 
was made easy to me, and that mighty army, in the 
space of half a day, was laid in the dust.' Two 
detachments were at once dispatched to occupy Delhi 
and Agra, and on Friday, April 27, the public prayer 
was said in the mosque of the capital in the name of 
the new Emperor, the first of the ' Great Moghuls.' 

The whole thing had been almost incredibly easy. 
Seldom was a day — 

So fought, so followed, and so fairly won. 

The explanation is no doubt to be found partly in 
the unpopularity of Sultan Ibrahim, whose severity 
and avarice, joined to military incapacity, fostered 
treachery, or at least half-heartedness, among his 
troops. We read of no actual desertions, and many 
of his men fought to the death ; but there must have 
been disaffection, as well as a want of confidence in 
their leader, to allow 100,000 well-armed troops to 
go down, break, and run, before an army one-tenth 
their size. Babar's generalship, however, had much 
to do with the successful issue. His skilful dispo- 
sition of his men behind a fortified laager, which 
checked the enemy's charges, above all their heavy 
elephants ; his adoption of the Mongol flanking 
manoeuvre ; and his alert support of each section 
of his line the instant he detected any wavering — 


these were among the causes of his victory. His 
men began the battle in no little alarm : it was their 
Emperor's cool science and watchful tactics that 
restored their confidence and gave them back their 

To the Afghans of Delhi the battle of Panipat was 
their Cannae. It was the ruin of their dominion, the 
end of their power. In their despair they raised their 
dead Sultan, poor creature as he was, to the sanctity 
of a martyr, and long continued to make pilgrimages 
to his grave. The battlefield became an uncanny 
spot which no man cared to pass after dark. Wail- 
ing and groans and other supernatural sounds were 
heard there of nights ; and the historian Badadni, 
a man of veracity in his way, crossing the haunted 
plain one night with some friends, heard the dreadful 
voices, and fell to repeating the holy names of God 
as a protection from the awful influences around 

Babar had his share of superstition, but he was 
too busy at first to think of it. He was gathering 
such spoil as passed all dreams. He had seized the 
royal treasuries at Delhi and Agra, and the first 
business was to divide the booty among the expectant 
troops. To Humayun, who had played his part like 
a man in the great battle, he gave seventy lakhs (of 
dams, i. e. about £20,000) and a treasure which no 
one had counted. His chief Begs were rewarded with 
six to ten lakhs apiece (£1,700 to £2,800). Every 
man who had fought received his share, and even the 

PAN I PAT , 167 

traders and camp-followers were remembered in the 
general bounty. Besides this, the Emperor's other 
sons and relations, though absent, had presents of 
gold and silver, cloth and jewels, and captive slaves. 
Friends in Farghana, Khurasan, Kashghar, and Persia 
were not forgotten ; and holy men in Herat and 
Samarkand, and Mekka and Medina, received sub- 
stantial offerings. Finally, to every person in Kabul, 
man, woman, slave and free, young or old, a silver 
coin was sent in celebration of the victory. The 
balance was stored in the treasury to carry on the 
government and support the army. 

For himself, Babar kept nothing. When Humayun 
brought him the glorious diamond, one of the famous 
historical jewels, valued at ' half the daily expenditure 
of the whole world,' which the family of the late 
Raja Bikramajit had given him in gratitude for his 
chivalrous protection, the father gave it back to 
the young prince 1 . He had no love for wealth or 
precious stones, except to give away, and his prodigal 

1 Mr. H. Beveridge {Calcutta Review, 1897) quotes a passage from 
a MS. by Shah Khur Shah, in the British Museum (Or. 153), 
in which it is related how Humayun presented this famous 
diamond to Shah Tahmasp, who ' did not value it so highly,' and 
sent it as a gift to the Nizam Shah in the Deccan. Mr. Beveridge 
conjectures that this diamond may be identical with that (the 
1 Great Mogul ') presented to Shah Jahan, i. e. the Koh-i-Nur. 
It is a remarkable point that Babar gives the weight of his 
diamond as 8 miskdls or 320 ratis, and that Tavernier states the 
weight of the 'Great Mogul' diamond to be 319I ratis. See 
V. Ball's Appendix I to vol. ii of his translation of Tavernier's 
Travels. But Professor Ball did not know that Babar's diamond 
had been sent back to the Deccan. 


generosity in distributing the immense spoil of the 
Delhi kings gained him the nickname of ' the Ka- 
landar' — the beggar-friar. He had what he prized 
far above jewels and gold. He had renown and a 
name in history for all time. 




Babar was now king of Delhi, but not yet king of 
Hindustan, much less of India. Even of the dominion 
of Delhi, which then stretched from the Indus to 
Bihar, and from Gwaliar to the Himalayas, he was 
only nominally master. The L6di dynasty, indeed, 
was dethroned, and its last king slain, but that king 
left a brother to claim the crown, and the land 
remained unsubdued east and south of Agra. The 
people were hostile to the strangers of uncouth tongue, 
and each town and petty ruler prepared for obstinate 
resistance. The country round Agra was in open 
revolt. Biana, Mewat, Dholpiir, Gwaliar, Raberi, 
Etawa, Kalpi, were all fortifying against attack, unani- 
mous in rejecting the newcomers. In spite of the 
surfeit of treasure, Babar's troops were like to starve. 
1 When I came to Agra/ he says, c it was the hot 
season. All the inhabitants fled from terror, so that 
we could find neither grain for ourselves nor fodder 
for our beasts. The villages, out of mere hatred and 


spite to us, had taken to anarchy, thieving, and 
marauding. The roads became impassable. I had 
not had time, after the division of the treasure, to 
send fit persons to occupy and protect the different 
parganas and stations. The heats this year chanced 
to be unusually oppressive, and many men dropped at 
about the same time, as though struck by the samum, 
and died on the spot.' 

The troops began to murmur. They longed for the 
cool air of Kabul, and even made ready for return. 
They looked upon India ' as a buccaneer looked on a 
galleon ' ; the prize-money distributed, they wished to 
make sail. Babar was exceedingly angry, especially 
when the grumbling of the rank and file reached his 
ears. He could take advice, on occasion, from his 
Begs, tried warriors, and politic men of affairs : — but 
this rabble ! ' Where was the sense or decency of 
eternally dinning the same tale in the ears of one who 
saw the facts with his own eyes, and had formed 
a calm and fixed resolve in regard to the business 
in hand? What use was there in the whole army, 
down to the very dregs, giving their stupid uninformed 
opinions ? ' He was bitterly disappointed at their 
want of loyal confidence. Even Khwaja Kalan, his 
best general, whose six brothers had followed him 
to their deaths, was eager to return home. 

They had to deal with an obstinate man, however, 
and Babar soon showed them his mettle. He sum- 
moned the Begs to a council, and spoke his mind. He 
recalled the toils and labours of the past years, the 


weary marches and grievous hardships, and reminded 
them that all these had been endured for the sake of 
the great reward which was now theirs. ' A mighty 
enemy had been overcome, and a rich and powerful 
kingdom was at their feet. And now, having attained 
our goal and won our game, are we to turn back from 
all we have accomplished and fly to Kabul like men 
who have lost and are discomfited ? Let no man who 
calls himself my friend ever again moot such a thing. 
But if there be any one of you who cannot bring 
himself to stay, then let him go.' Thoroughly shamed, 
the murmurers dared not say a word : the whole army 
returned to its senses. So the plague of disaffection 
was sta}'ed among the people. Only Khwaja Kalan 
was sent as governor to Ghazni, because a man of 
his influence and ability was needed to protect the 
country. Babar, however, was deeply offended with 
his veteran officer, and the offence was doubled when 
the Khwaja, who was a cultivated man, wrote these 
lines on a wall at Delhi : — 

If safe and sound I pass the Sind, 
Damned if I ever wish for Hind. 

Babar in reply sent him the verse : — 

Babar ! give all thanks that the favour of God Most 

Hath given thee Sind and Hind and widespread royalty : 
If the heats of India make thee long for the mountain 

Remember the frost and ice that numbed thee in Ghazni 

of old ! 


There are few acts more splendidly heroic in B&bar's 
career than this bold resolution to stay where he was, 
in the middle of India, among hostile nations and 
a discontented soldiery. And the reward of firmness 
soon appeared. He had not only won over his own 
army but many of his enemies. The people had 
imagined that his invasion was no more than a 
temporary raid, like his ancestor Timur's, and thought 
that he would depart as soon as he was gorged with 
treasure. To such a robber they would offer strenuous 
resistance. But when they found that he had come 
to live amongst them, they began to examine him 
more curiously, and to consider what policy was likely 
to pay. All they could learn about the new conqueror 
was in his favour. His severities were as nothing com- 
pared with his generous magnanimity. His courage 
and generalship were proved, and if he meant to stay 
and rule the land, who was there fit to be weighed in 
the balance against him? Tired of the barbarities 
and uneasiness of civil war, recognizing no chief of 
Babar's level, the fighting men who had long trampled 
on Hindustan began to see the merits of a master. 
The tide of public opinion turned and set steadily 
towards Babar's side. 

First an Afghan officer came over with a valuable 
contingent of two or three thousand retainers from 
the Doab. Then a powerful chief was won by the 
Emperor's clemency to his captured sons. Still more 
wonderful was the submission of the whole Afghan 
army, which the late kiug of Delhi had dispatched to 


subdue the revolted province of Bihar. They one and 
all acclaimed the new order, and Babar, by a stroke of 
genius, rewarded them with the gift of valuable fiefs 
in the parts of Jaunpur and Oudh which were still in 
revolt. Naturally the prospect of handsome revenues 
spurred on their energies. Meanwhile Sambhal was 
taken by guile ; and Humayun led an army against 
the insurgent Afghans in the east, who were advancing 
into the Doab, but immediately broke up on his 
approach and fled over the Ganges. The young prince 
pursued, took Jaunpur and Ghaziptir, and leaving 
strong divisions in Jaunpur and Oudh, marched back 
by way of Kalpi to support his father against a 
pressing danger. For Babar was now coming to the 
grip with the only formidable rival left in Hindustan, 
the great Rana Sanga of Chitor. 

1 Rana Sanga was the head of the Rajput principality of 
Chitor, now known as Udaipur, and the representative 
of a family which, by the universal consent of the Rajputs, is 
allowed the pre-eminence among all the Rajput tribes as the 
most ancient and the noblest. Like Babar, he had been 
educated in the school of adversity. After overcoming the 
many difficulties and dangers of his early life, when he at 
length mounted the throne he carried on successful wars 
with his neighbours on every side, and added largely to his 
hereditary dominions. From Sultan Mahmud Khilji, the 
king of Malwa — whom he defeated in battle, took prisoner, 
and honourably entertained in a spirit worthy of the best 
days of chivalry — he had wrested the wide and valuable 
provinces of Bhilsa, Sarangpiir, Chanderi and Rantbor. He 
had engaged in hostilities with Sultan Ibrahim of Delhi, 


and twice had met the Sultan himself in pitched battles. 
"Eighty thousand horse, seven Rajas of the highest rauk, 
nine Eaos, and one hundred and four chieftains bearing the 
titles of Rawul and Rawut, with five hundred war elephants, 
followed him into the field. The princes of Marwar and 
Amber did him homage, and the Raos of Gwaliar, Ajmir, 
Sikri, Raesen, Kalpek, Chanderi, Bundi, Gagraon, Rampura, 
and AM, served him as tributaries or held of him in chief." 
His personal figure corresponded with his deeds. " He 
exhibited at his death but the fragment of a warrior ; one 
eye was lost in the broil with his brother, an arm in an 
action with the Lodi King of t)elhi, and he was a cripple 
owing to a limb being broken with a cannon-ball in another, 
while he counted eighty wounds from the sword or the lance 
on various parts of his body." And his rival, Babar, who 
loved in an enemy the qualities he himself possessed, pays 
him only a just tribute of respect when he says that the high 
eminence he then held he had attained but recently by his 
valour and his sword 1 .' 

The two men belonged to widely different races — 
Babar, the Turco-Mongolian of Western Tartary, 
Sanga, the pure Aryan of the East : but each recog- 
nized his rival's greatness, for — 

There is neither East nor West, 

Border nor Breed nor Birth, 
When two strong men stand face to face, 

Tho' they come from the ends of the earth. 

The Rana had even sent a complimentary embassy 
to Babar at Kabul, offering to join in the attack on 

1 Erskine, History of India, i. 460, 461 ; Tod's Rajasthan, ii. 229, 307. 


the Delhi kingdom. When the time came, however, 
he thought better of it, and Babar resented the defec- 
tion. On his side the Rajput claimed territory on the 
western bank of the Ganges, which Babar had oc- 
cupied. One of these places was Biana, which was 
too near Agra to be left unsubdued. Tardi Beg, whom 
we have met before in different circumstances, was 
sent to seize the fort, and though the first attempt 
was an egregious failure, the Muhammadan com- 
mander of Biana, hearing that Rana Sanga was coming 
to the rescue, preferred surrendering to his fellow 
Muslims to yielding the fortress to a Hindu ' pagan.' 
In the same way, and for the same cause, Dholpiir 
opened its gates to the Emperor's troops, and finally 
Gwaliar, the famous fortress on its impregnable crag, 
was taken by stratagem. 

This was coming to close quarters ; and soon after 
Humayun had brought back his army to Agra, Babar 
learnt without surprise that the Rana was marching 
on Biana, and had been joined by Hasan Khan of 
Mewat. It was war to the knife. The Emperor lost 
no time, but sending on a light detachment towards 
the threatened fortress, with orders to hang on the 
enemy and harass him, he set out himself with his 
main body in battle array on February 11, 1527. All 
his campaigns hitherto had been against fellow 
Muslims ; now, for the first time, he was marching 
against ' heathens ' ; it was the Jihdd, the holy war. 
Moreover, these ' heathens ' were fighting-men of the 
first class. Babar had some experiences of the warlike 


capacities of various races. He knew the Mongol 
wheeling swoop, the Uzbeg charge, the Afghan skir- 
mish, and the steady fighting of his own Turks ; but 
he was now to meet warriors of a higher type than 
any he had encountered. 'The Rajputs, energetic, 
chivalrous, fond of battle and bloodshed, animated by 
a strong national spirit, were ready to meet face to 
face the boldest veterans of the camp, and were at 
all times prepared to lay down their life for their 
honour/ Their chivalry and lofty sense of honour 
inspired nobler feats and sacrifices than any that were 
conceived by Babar's less highly wrought soldiers. 

The Emperor camped at Sikri — afterwards Akbar's 
exquisite palace-city of Fathpur — where he was joined 
by the garrison from Biana. These men had already 
received a lesson from the Rajputs, of whose bravery 
and daring they all spoke in unmeasured praise. The 
enemy was evidently not one that could be trifled 
with. An outpost affair soon confirmed this impres- 
sion : an incautious advance by one of the Amirs was 
at once detected by the Rajputs, who sent the Turks 
flying back to camp with some loss, including a 
standard. The pursuers only pulled up when they 
came in sight of a strong detachment which Babar 
had quickly sent out to cover the retreat. Being now 
in touch with the enemy, the Emperor put his army 
in battle array. As before at Panipat, he ranged the 
gun-carriages, and probably the baggage wagons, so 
as to cover his front, and chained them together 
at a distance of five paces. Mustafa, from Turkey, 


ordered his artillery admirably in the Ottoman manner 
on the left wing, but Ustad 'Ali had a different method. 
Where there were no guns or wagons, a ditch was 
dug, backed by portable wooden tripods on wheels, 
lashed together at a few paces apart. These prepara- 
tions took twenty-five days, and were designed to 
restore the confidence of the troops. The army, in 
fact, was almost in a panic at the reports of the 
numbers and courage of the Rajputs, and an astrologer 
— an ■ evil-minded rascally fellow ' — added to the 
general uneasiness by his foolish predictions, of which, 
to his credit, Babar took no heed. His every energy 
was bent upon getting the army into a fit state to 
meet the enemy — 'stiffen their sinews, summon up 
the blood.' 

It was at this anxious moment, when his men were 
quaking in anticipation of the struggle with their 
unknown foes, that Babar made his memorable re- 
nunciation of wine, broke his drinking cups, poured 
out the stores of liquor on the ground, and promul- 
gated his total-abstinence manifesto to the army. It 
was a time for solemn vows of reformation, and in 
common with many of his followers the Emperor 
adopted the usual token of a pledge, by letting his 
beard grow. Then he called his dispirited officers 
together, and addressed them : — 

* Gentlemen and Soldiers,—" Every man that comes into 
the world must pass away: God alone is immortal, un- 
changeable. Whoso sits down to the feast of life must end 
by drinking the cup of death. All visitors of the inn of 



mortality must one day leave this house of sorrow." Rather 
let us die with honour than live disgraced ! 

With fame, though I die, I am content, 
Let fame be mine, though life be spent. 

God most high has been gracious in giving us this destiny, 
that if we fall we die martyrs, if we conquer we triumph in 
His holy cause. Let us swear with one accord by the great 
name of God that we will never turn back from such a death, 
or shrink from the stress of battle, till our souls are parted 
from our bodies/ 

Master and servant, great and small, every man 
seized the Koran and took the oath. After that, the 
army began to pluck up. They needed it, for every 
day brought bad news : a fort had surrendered, a chief 
had turned traitor, a detachment had been forced to 
retire, the Indians who had joined the army began to 
desert. Waiting only made the situation worse, and 
Babar resolved to advance upon the enemy. On New 
Year's Day, March 12, he writes: — 

1 1 advanced my wagons [and guns] and tripods with all 
the apparatus and machines that I had prepared, and 
marched forward with my army in order of battle — right 
wing, left wing, and centre in their places. In front were 
the wagons, gun-carriages, and tripods on wheels, and behind 
came Ustad 'Ali Kuli, with a body of his matchlock men, to 
prevent the communication being cut off between the artillery 
and the infantry behind, and to enable them to advance and 
form into line. When the ranks were formed and every 
man in his place, I galloped along the line, encouraging the 
Begs and men of the centre, right, and left, giving special 
directions to each division how to act, and to each man 


orders how to proceed and engage. Then, when all was 
arranged, I moved the army on in order of battle for 
a couple of miles, when we camped. The pagans, getting 
notice of our movements, were on the alert, and several bodies 
drew out to face us and came close up to our wagons and 
ditch. ... I did not intend fighting that day, but sent out 
a few skirmishers by way of taking an omen. They took 
a number of pagans and cut off their heads, which they 
brought in. . . . This raised the spirits of the army wonder- 
fully, and gave them confidence.' 

It was not till Saturday, March 16, 1527, that the 
two armies met at Kanwaha in pitched battle. Babar 
had pushed on another mile or two, and was busy 
setting the camp, when the news came that the enemy 
were advancing. Instantly every man was sent to his 
post, the line of chained guns and wagons was 
strengthened, and the army drawn up for the fight. 
A special feature in the disposition was the great 
strength of the reserves. Babar himself commanded 
the centre, assisted by his cousin, Chin Timur, a son 
of Ahmad, the late Khan of Mongolistan. Humayun 
led the right, and the Emperor's son-in-law, Mahdi 
Khwaja, the left. Among the minor commanders was 
a grandson of Sultan Husain of Herat ; and the L6di 
c Ala-ad-din, the claimant to the crown of Delhi, whom 
Babar still used as a figure-head, had his post. Of 
the number of the imperial troops there is no estimate, 
but the Rajputs were credited with over 200,000 — 
probably a rough guess, based upon the known 
maximum of Rajput levies ; but Rana Sanga evidently 
had a very powerful following. The chiefs of Bhilsa, 

M 2 


rated at 30,000 horse, of Mewat, Dongarpiir, and 
Chanderi, with about 1 2,000 each, brought the flower 
of Rajput chivalry at their backs ; and Mahmud Lodi, 
brother of the late Sultan Ibrahim, another claimant 
to the throne, had collected a body of 10,000 mer- 
cenaries to support his pretensions. Whatever the 
exact numbers, 'a more gallant army could not be 
brought into the field.' 

' The battle began, about half-past nine in the morning, 
by a desperate charge made by the Rajputs on Babar's right. 
Bodies of the reserve were pushed on to its assistance ; and 
Mustafa Rumi, who commanded one portion of the artillery 
[and matchlocks] on the right of the centre, opened a fire 
upon the assailants. Still, new bodies of the enemy poured 
on undauntedly, and new detachments from the reserve were 
sent to resist them. The battle was no less desperate on the 
left, to which also it was found necessary to dispatch 
repeated parties from the reserve. When the battle had 
lasted several hours, and still continued to rage, Babar sent 
orders to the flanking columns to wheel round and charge ; 
and he soon after ordered the guns to advance, and, by 
a simultaneous movement, the household troops and cavalry 
stationed behind the cannon were ordered to gallop out on 
right and left of the matchlock men in the centre, who also 
moved forward and continued their fire, hastening to fling 
themselves with all their fury on the enemy's centre. When 
this was observed in the wings they also advanced. These 
unexpected movements, made at the same moment, threw 
the enemy into confusion. Their centre was shaken ; the 
men who were displaced by the attack made in flank on 
the wings and rear were forced upon the centre and crowded 
together. Still the gallant Rajputs were not appalled. They 


made repeated desperate attacks on the Emperor's centre, in 
hopes of recovering the day ; but were bravely and steadily 
received, and swept away in great numbers. [Ustad 'Ali's 
"huge balls" did fearful execution among the "heathen."] 
Towards evening the confusion was complete, and the 
slaughter was consequently dreadful. The fate of the battle 
was decided. Nothing remained for the Rajputs but to force 
their way through the bodies of the enemy that were now in 
their rear, and to effeot a retreat. The Emperor pursued 
them as far as their camp, and . . . detached a strong body 
of horse with orders to pursue the broken troops of the 
confederates without halting ; to cut up all they met, and to 
prevent them from reassembling 1 .' 

The victory was final, complete. The enemy fled 
in all directions, leaving multitudes of slain upon the 
fields and roads around. Many chiefs had fallen, and 
the heads of gallant Rajputs rose in the ghastly tower 
erected by their conqueror, who now took the title 
he had earned of Ghdzi, or Victor in the Holy War. 
Indeed, had Babar pressed the pursuit he would 
have almost exterminated the Rajput power, and 
ultimus ille dies hello gentique fuisset. As it was, 
the noble Sanga himself escaped, though severely 
wounded, but from that day forth no Rana of his line 

1 This is Erskine's abridgement of the account of the battle given 
in the official dispatch. The dispatch was written by Shaikh 
Zain-ed-din, in the ornate style that Persians admire, and is 
a model of obscurity. Tod's Rajasthdn i, 305-6, gives the Rajput 
account, from which it appears that, during the long wait at Sikri, 
Babar proposed terms to the Rana and even offered to pay him an 
annual tribute. Confident of victory, Sanga declined the proposals. 
The Rajputs attributed their defeat to the treachery of one of their 


ever took the field in person against an Emperor of 
Babar's house. Within a year the invader had struck 
two decisive blows, which shattered the power of two 
great organized forces. The battle of Panipat had 
utterly broken the power of the Muhammadan Afghans 
in India ; the battle of Kanwaha crushed the great 
confederacy of the Hindus. 

But Babar had not done with the Rajputs yet. He 
had beaten them, but he meant also to punish them. 
When his troops mustered again in winter after the 
rainy season, he resolved to lead them into the enemy's 
country and attack one of their chief strongholds. 
He marched against Chanderi, on the south-east of 
Malwa, the fastness of Medini Rao, one of the Rana s 
distinguished lieutenants, king-maker in Malwa, and 
head of the Rajputs of that part. His way took him 
down the Jamna, which he crossed below the confluence 
of the Chambal, to Kalpi, whence he diverged towards 
his goal, cutting a path through the jungle for his guns 
and wagons. He reached Chanderi on January 20, 
1528. Medini Rao was in his fortress with some five 
thousand of his gallant followers, and proudly rejected 
Babar's offer of terms. Just as the besiegers were 
closing round the place, the prime minister, Nizam- 
ad-din Khalifa, brought the Emperor the disturbing 
news that the army he had sent against the Afghans 
of Bihar had been defeated, and abandoning Lucknow 
was falling back on Kanauj. Seeing Khalifa's per- 
turbation, Babar remarked reassuringly that all things 
were in God's hands, and there was no use in anxiety ; 


he bade his minister conceal the bad news, and 
strain every nerve to carry Chanderi by assault in 
the morning. The outer fort was taken in the night \ 
In the morning a general assault was ordered, and in 
spite of the stones and fire which the Rajputs threw 
down on their heads, the storming parties gained the 
walls in several places and seized a covered way that 
led to the citadel. The upper fort was quickly forced, 
and the desperate Rajputs, seeing that all was lost, 
killed all their women and children, and rushing out 
naked, fell furiously upon the Muslims, slaughtered 
as many as they could, and then threw themselves 
over the ramparts. A remnant had gathered in 
Medini Rao's house, where they slew each other with 
enthusiasm : ' one man took his stand with a sword, 
and others came pressing on, one by one, and stretched 
out their necks, eager to die ; in this way many 
went to hell.' To Babar this desperate sacrifice 
appeared only an exhibition of pagan infatuation, and 
he piled up the heads of these heroic suicides in 
a tower on a hill-top without a word of admiration 
for their gallant end. He was only surprised at the 
ease with which in the space of an hour, and with- 
out his full strength, he had stormed so redoubtable 
a fortress. 

Soon after this second blow, the great Rana Sanga, 

1 Khafi Khan, a late authority, says that the outer fort (in- 
cluding the town) was surrendered on condition that the garrison 
and inhabitants would be spared, but that the Rajputs broke the 
peace, and the Muslims thereupon slew some thousands and 
assaulted the citadel as described above. 


Babar's only comparable rival, died, and a contest over 
the succession deprived the Rajput confederacy of 
any leader. There was no more trouble with the 
Hindus in his time, but that time was short. The 
mighty Mongol was soon to join the gallant Rajput 
among the shades. 




The chief work of the remaining two years of 
Babar' s life was to quench the last sparks of rebellion. 
We have said nothing so far about the organization or 
polity of the empire, — which now stretched from Kunduz 
and Badakhshanby the Oxus to the borders of Bengal, 
and from the Himalayas to Gwaliar, — because Babar 
had no time to organize. A large part of the Empire 
was scarcely controlled at all, and the polity of 
Hindustan under his rule was simply the strong hand 
of military power where it could be used. The lands 
and cities of the more settled regions were parcelled 
out among his officers, or jdgirddrs, who levied the 
land-tax from the peasant cultivators, the duties from 
the merchants and shopkeepers, and the poll-tax from 
non-Muslims l . The great zaminddrs or landholders 

1 Babar gives a list of the imperial revenue derived from the 
various provinces (including the Cis-Sutlej province, i.e. Bhira, 
Lahore, Sialkot, Dibalpur, &c. ; Sirhind, Hisar-Firuza, Dehli, 
Mewat, Biana, Agra, Mian-i-Vilayat, GwaUiar, Kalpi, Kanauj, 
Sambhal, Lucknow, Khairabad, Oudh and Baraich, Jaunpur, 
Karra and Manikpur, Bihar, Sirwar, Ohiparan, Gondla ; and 
tribute from Tirhut, Rantambhor, Nagor, and various Rajas), 
and puts the total at fifty-two crores of tankas, which Erskine 


were often in but nominal dependence on the crown ; 
and India, as Erskine observes, was ' rather a congeries 
of little states under one prince, than one regular 
and uniformly governed kingdom.' The frontier and 
mountain districts, indeed, could hardly be said to 
have submitted in more than form ; the Afghan tribes 
were still practically independent ; and in Sind on the 
west, and Bihar on the east, the imperial authority was 
very lightly recognized. 

Bihar gave most trouble. The Afghan insurgents 
still held out in the eastern part of Babar's empire, 
and had even assumed the offensive when they saw 
him busy with the Rajput campaigns. Treachery and 
deserters had swelled their numbers, and they had 
advanced into the Doab, stormed Shamsabad, and 
driven the imperial garrison out of Kanauj. As soon 
as Chanderi had fallen, Babar set out (February 2, 1528) 
to punish their temerity. He crossed the Jamna — an 
operation which with his large force took several days 
— and, sending on a light reconnaissance to Kanauj, 
discovered that the enemy, abandoning the city on 
the news of his approach, had hurriedly recrossed the 
Ganges, and were now mustered on the east bank to 
dispute his passage. The Emperor reached the great 
river on February 27, and encamped opposite the 
insurgents. Collecting thirty or forty of the enemy's 

is disposed to reckon at £4,212,000. If, however, the tanka is taken 
to be the equivalent of the dam, as in Akbar's time, the revenue 
would be less than £1,500,000. This revenue is solely that derived 
from the land tax, and does not represent the gross income of the 

EMPIRE ' 187 

boats, he ordered a bridge to be thrown across the broad 
stream. The Afghans mocked at so wild a project, but 
the bridge went on ; and the skilful fire of the match- 
locks and artillery, discharged from an island and 
from a battery on the bank, protected the engineers 
who were constructing the pontoon. Ustad c Ali even 
succeeded in firing off the big cannon called l Big 
Ghdzi ' (' Victorious Gun,' a title it had won in the 
battle of Kanwaha) no less than sixteen times a day, 
which was clearly a record performance at that time ; 
but a still more ponderous piece unluckily burst at 
the first discharge. 

On March 13 the bridge was finished, and some of 
the infantry and the Panjab troops were sent over to 
skirmish. The next day a large part of the army 
crossed, and were at once engaged by the Afghans, 
who were supported by elephants. Babar's troops 
held their footing stubbornly till night, when they 
crossed back and rejoined the rest of the army on the 
west bank. On the two following days the artillery 
and the whole of the imperial forces were safely got 
across, but the enemy had prudently decamped. They 
were hotly pursued nearly as far as Oudh, with the 
loss of their families and baggage, and many were 
overtaken and slain. The Afghan army was utterly 
dispersed for the time, and Babar returned to Agra 
for the rainy season. 

Frequent and prolonged attacks of fever had warned 
him that the climate of India was not to be trifled 
with, and his peculiar febrifuge — consisting in trans- 


lating a religious tract into verse— did not answer his 
expectations. His wandering, restless life, too, was 
telling upon his hardy constitution. He notes that 
since the age of eleven he had never kept the great 
annual feast after Ramazan twice in the same place. 
Yet between his fits of fever his vigour remained 
extraordinary. He had been known to take up a man 
under each arm, and run with them round the battle- 
ments of a fortress, leaping the embrasures ; and even 
in March, 1529, he notes: 'I swam across the river 
Ganges for amusement. I counted my strokes, and 
found that I swam over in thirty -three strokes. 
I then took breath, and swam back to the other side. 
I had crossed by swimming every river I had met, 
except only the Ganges.' He was also perpetually 
in the saddle, riding eighty miles a day sometimes, 
and the rapidity of his marches was often amazing. • 

At Agra, in December, he gave a splendid garden 
entertainment, and the names of the guests show the 
extent of his power and reputation. There were noted 
Khwajas from his lost Samarkand, ambassadors from 
the Uzbeg Sultan, from the Shah of Persia, and from 
the King of Bengal, who all received magnificent 
presents in return for their offerings. A touching 
part of the ceremony was Babar's grateful gift of 
costly dresses and valuables 'to the men who had 
come from Andijan, who, without a country, without 
a home, had roamed with me in my wanderings 
in Siikh and Hushyar and many lands, my tried 
veterans.' There were fights of camels and elephants 

EMPIRE ' 189 

and rams, and wrestling matches, to amuse the visitors ; 
and during dinner the Indian jugglers and tumblers 
performed wonderful tricks, which Babar had never 
seen before. Dancing girls added their peculiar 
charm, and in the evening money was freely scattered 
in the crowd : ' there was a precious hubbub.' 

The city in which he gave this tamdsha was a very 
different place from the Agra he had found. His 
delight in running water had led him to sink wells 
and build tanks among the tamarinds beside the 
Jamna, and to lay out gardens, where he planted the 
rose and narcissus in regular parterres. He employed 
six hundred and eighty masons daily on his new 
buildings, and though he confesses that he had to 
proceed ' without neatness or order, in the Hindu 
fashion,' yet he ' produced edifices and gardens of very 
tolerable regularity.' In India a 'garden' includes 
a dwelling, and Babar's Charbagh with its marble 
pavilions and beds of roses must have been a delight- 
ful palace. The Indians, who had never seen this sort 
of pleasure-ground, called it 'Kabul'; and we may be 
sure the name carried sweet associations to the designer. 

He was not left long in repose. The Afghans in 
Bihar were not yet quelled. Mahmud L6di, the 
brother of Sultan Ibrahim, had arrived among them, 
and they flocked to the standard of their hereditary 
king. Jaunpiir and most of Bihar declared for him, 
and the many factions laid aside their rivalries for 
the moment to support the last chance of an Afghan 
restoration. Babar received this news in the middle 


of January, 1529. whilst he was staying at Dholpur, 
preparing for a predatory campaign in the west. He 
at once returned to Agra and led his army out. On 
reaching the Ganges he was met by his son 'Askari, 
whom he had sent on a few weeks before to take 
the command in the eastern provinces. Having been 
fully informed as to the situation of the enemy, the 
Emperor marched down the right bank of the river, 
while 'Askari's force kept pace with him on the other 
side, camping opposite his father each night. At the 
news of his approach the large army of the Afghans, 
numbering, it was said, a hundred thousand men, 
hastened away: the Lddi pretender fled from before 
Chunar, to which he was laying siege ; Shir Khan 
escaped from Benares ; and as Babar pressed on past 
Allahabad, Chunar, Benares, and Ghazipiir, to Baksar 
(Buxar), several of the Afghan leaders came in to 
offer their submission ; and Mahmud, finding himself 
almost deserted, sought protection with the Bengal 

The Kingdom of Bengal had long been independent 
of Delhi, and Babar had no immediate intention of 
subduing it, so long as it did not interfere with him. 
The King, Nasrat Shah, had sent ambassadors to 
Agra, who had professed amity, and even paid 
pishkash or tribute ; and the reports from Bengal had 
so far been entirely reassuring. Nevertheless the 
Bengal troops were now massed on the frontier and 
were apparently supporting the defeated Afghans. 
On the other hand, it was possible that they were 

EMPIRE » 191 

merely taking precautions against the war being 
carried into their own country. An envoy from the 
King of Bengal was informed that no injury was 
intended towards his country, but that the Emperor 
was resolved to quell the rebels wherever they might 
be found. The envoy departed with the customary 
gifts and robe of honour, but it became clear that his 
master meant war. Reinforced by 20,000 men from 
Jaunpur. Babar resolved to force the passage of the 
Gogra in face of the Bengalis. He made unusually 
elaborate preparations, for he knew the enemy were 
skilful gunners, and were in great force. Ustad l Ali 
was to plant his cannon, feringi pieces, and swivels 
(zavb-zan) on a rising ground at the point between the 
two rivers, and also keep up a hot fire from his 
matchlock-men upon the Bengali camp on the east 
bank of the Gogra. A little below the junction of 
the rivers, Mustafa was to direct a cannonade from 
his artillery, supported by matchlocks, on the enemy's 
flank, and upon the Bengal flotilla which lay off an 
island. A number of sappers were sent to raise 
the batteries and set up the guns and ammunition 
stores. The main army was formed up in six 
divisions, four of which, under the Emperor's son 
'Askari, were already north of the Ganges. These 
were to cross the Gogra by boats or fords, and keep 
the enemy busy while the artillery was being carried 
across, and a strong force was sent ahead to divert 
their attention. The fifth division under Babar 
himself was to cover Ustad 'Ali's batteries above 


the confluence, and then to cross the Gogra under the 
cover of the guns; whilst the sixth went to the 
support of Mustafa's artillery on the right bank of 
the Ganges. 

On Sunday and Monday, May i and 3, 1529, these 
two di visions crossed the Ganges, and on Tuesday they 
marched on to the Gogra. Ustad 'Ali at the confluence 
was making excellent practice with his feringis upon 
the Bengal vessels in the river. Babar, who was suffer- 
ing, went on board one of his boats, and took a dose of 
bhang — he had not given up his bolus, as well as his 
cup. Wednesday was spent in skirmishes with the 
Bengal boats, (several of which were captured,) in 
searching for a ford, and preparing for the forcing of 
the river. Meanwhile news came that 'Askari had 
got his divisions over the Gogra, and on the morning 
of Thursday, May 6, the battle began. The Bengal 
army, as was foreseen, moved up the river to meet 
'Askari. and Babar at once ordered the fifth and sixth 
divisions to cross anyhow, swimming, in boats, or on 
bundles of reeds, and take the enemy in the rear. 
The movement was brilliantly carried out in the 
face of a determined resistance. Attacked in front 
and rear and flank, the enemy broke and fled. Good 
generalship had once more guided valour to victory. 

The result was the collapse of the Afghan rebellion, 
and the conclusion of a treaty of peace with Bengal. 
In three battles Babar had reduced northern India to 

It was the last exploit of his life : his diary stops 

EMPIRE . 193 

soon afterwards, save for a few fragments. One of 
the entries shows that he was writing in the midst of 
his campaigns, for he records how the rainy season 
burst upon him in a violent storm on May 26, which 
blew the tent down over his head so suddenly that 
'he had not time to gather up his papers and the 
loose sheets that were written.' 'The books and 
sheets of paper,' he adds, ' were drenched and wet, 
but were gathered together with much pains, folded 
in woollen cloth, and placed under a bed over which 
carpets were thrown to dry and press them.' We need 
not follow him on his journey back to Agra. One of 
the latest notes in the diary mentions his reunion 
with his wife, the beloved mother of Humayun and of 
his three sisters, ' Rose-blush,' ' Rosy-face,' and ' Rose- 
form': 'it was Sunday at midnight when I met 
Maham' — he had not seen her for very long 1 . One 
of his first visits was to his aunts. He had brought 
ninety-six of his women relations from Kabul, and he 

1 Maham Begum was of the family of Sultan Husain of Herat. 
Among Babar's other wives we have already heard of his cousin 
'Ai'sha, the daughter of Sultan Ahmad, who was betrothed to him 
at the age of five, married whilst he was in difficulties at Khojend, 
and deserted him before the Uzbeg conquest of Tashkend. Her 
child lived only a few days. Her youngest sister, Ma'suma, fell 
in love with Babar at Herat, and married him at Kabul, where 
she died in giving birth to a daughter, whom he named Ma'suma 
after her, and who married her cousin Muhammad Zaman Mirza, 
grandson of Sultan Husain of Herat, and a capable general in 
Babar's campaigns. Other wives were Zainab, daughter of Sultan 
Mahmud of Hisar, whom he married when he captured Kabul ; 
Dildar Agacha, mother of Hindal ; Baika ; and a daughter of the 
Yusufzai chief. 



made a point of going to pay his respects to them 
every Friday when at Agra. When his wife remon- 
strated with him on his going out in the heat to see 
them, he replied that his aunts had neither father nor 
brother, and there was none but he to comfort them *. 
If no very devoted lover, Babar was certainly an 
admirable 'family man.' 

In the intervals of his campaigns he wrote that 
valuable description of Hindustan which displays 
his undiminished interest in natural history, and his 
singular quickness of observation and accurate com- 
memoration of statistical details. Though he had 
conquered his new empire, he did not love it. ' The 
country and towns of Hindustan/ he writes, 'are 
extremely ugly. All its towns and lands have a 
uniform look ; its gardens have no walls ; the greater 
part of it is a level plain/ He found ' the plains ' 
monotonous after the mountain scenery of Kabul and 
the well- watered orchards of Farghana. 

1 Hindustan,' he adds, ' is a country that has few pleasures 
to recommend it. The people are not handsome. They have 
no idea of the charms of friendly society. They have no 
genius, no intellectual comprehension, no politeness, no kind- 
ness or fellow-feeling, no ingenuity or mechanical invention 
in planning or executing their handicrafts, no skill or know- 
ledge in design or architecture. They have no good horses, 
no good flesh, no grapes or musk-melons 2 , no good fruits, no 

1 The story is told in Gul-badan's Memoirs, and by Mr. H.Beveridge. 

2 India, it is said, owes both these fruits to Babar's horticulture. 
Before he died he enjoyed grapes and musk-melons of his own 

EMPIRE . 195 

ice or cold water, no gcod food or bread in their bazars, 
no baths or colleges, or candles or torches — never a candle- 
stick V 

He might have modified this sweeping condemna- 
tion if he had lived longer in India and seen more of 
its races, and indeed he does admit that there are 
advantages even in India, — for example, in the abun- 
dance of workmen of all trades, and that * the climate 
during the rains is very pleasant ' ; but on the whole 
' the chief excellency of Hindustan is that it is a big 
country, with plenty of gold and silver.' But his 
perverse prejudice was deeply rooted, and one can see 
that even from the throne at Agra he looks back with 
regret to his own land, the land of melons and cool 
waters. Writing in February, 1529, to his old general, 
Khwaja Kalan, in Afghanistan, in the midst of his 
triumphs, he says : — 

1 The affairs of Hindustan have at length been brought to 
some degree of order, and I trust in Almighty God that the 
time is near at hand when, through His favour, everything 
will be quite settled here. As soon as that is done I shall 
set out for your quarters, God willing, without losing 
a moment. How can the delights of those lands ever be 
erased from the heart ] How can one like me, who has 
vowed abstinence and purity of life, possibly forget the 
delicious melons and grapes of that happy land 1 The other 
day they brought me a musk-melon : as I cut it up I felt 
a deep home-sickness, and sense of exile from my native land, 
and I could not help weeping.' 

He has forgotten nothing of the beauties of his own 
Farghana, or of Kabul, the country of his adoption. 

N 2 


He orders repairs of the castle and great mosque, as if 
he were on the spot. There is a portico that must 
be seen to, and a garden that needs more water, 
a plantation that should be renewed, and orchards to 
be sown with 'beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers 
and shrubs.' He remembers with regret the joyous 
days he spent by the Kabul river, yet he is glad that 
he has had strength to reform. He admits that he 
' had much difficulty in reconciling himself to the 
desert of penitence,' but he persevered : — 

Distraught I am since that I gave up wine ; 
Confused, to nothing doth my soul incline. 
Regret did once my penitence beget ; 
Now penitence induces worse regret. 

' Excuse me,' he continues, ' for wandering into these 
follies. For God's sake, do not think amiss of me for 
them. I wrote last year the quatrain I quoted, and 
indeed last year my desire and longing for wine and 
conviviality were excessive beyond measure ; so much 
that I have even found myself shedding tears of 
vexation and disappointment. This year, thank God, 
these troubles are over, and this I ascribe chiefly to 
my occupying my mind with poetry. Let me advise 
you too to adopt a life of abstinence.' 

Writing a little earlier (Nov. 13, 1528) to his eldest 
son, Humayun, to congratulate him on the birth of his 
first child, he is full of interest in the political state of 
the Oxus country. Matters had arrived there at a point 
in which it seemed possible that the throne of Samar- 

EMPIRE ' 197 

kand might be recovered ; and Babar enjoins his son 
to advance with the support of his brothers to ■ Hisar, 
Samarkand, or Merv, as may be most advisable. . . . 
This is the time for you to court danger and hardship, 
and show your valour in arms. Fail not to quit your- 
self strenuously to meet every emergency: indolence 
and ease agree ill with kingship.' If the attack succeed, 
Babar will make an imperial government of Samarkand, 
with Hum ay tin on the throne. 

The letter is full of good advice, not only as to the 
campaign (which never came off), but on various 
matters of conduct ; Humayiin is to act handsomely 
by his brother Kamran, the ruler of Kabul ; he is not 
to complain of his own loneliness in Badakhshan — it is 
unworthy of a prince ; — he is to consult his Begs and 
ministers, avoid private parties, and call all the court 
to public levees twice every day; and pay special 
deference to Khwaja Kalan, and keep up the strength 
and discipline of the army. Small faults do not 
escape the parental critic. ' You have indeed written 
me letters,' says Babar, ' but you certainly never read 
them over : had you attempted to read them you 
would have found it impossible.' Babar himself 
could hardly make them out, with their crabbed 
writing — addressed to the man who invented the 
special script called the Babari hand ! — and their mis- 
spellings, and attempts at far-fetched idioms. ' Write 
unaffectedly,' says the critic, ' clearly, with plain 
words, which saves trouble to both writer and 
reader.' ' The language of kings,' it was said, ' is the 


king of languages/ and Babar well understood how to 
write the royal tongue. 

Not long after this, when the hopes of a re-conquest 
of Samarkand were over, Humayun felt a longing to 
be with his father again 1 , and set off from Badakh- 
shan with impetuous haste, giving no notice of his 
coming. He found his parents at Agra : — 

1 1 was just talking with his mother about him when in he 
came. His presence opened our hearts like rosebuds, and 
made our eyes shine like torches. It was my rule to keep 
open table every day, but on this occasion I gave feasts in 
his honour, and showed him every kind of distinction. We 
lived together for some time in the greatest intimacy. The 
truth is that his conversation had an inexpressible charm, and 
he realized absolutely the ideal of perfect manhood.' 

How devotedly Babar loved his son was seen a few 
months later, when the young man was brought back 
by boat from his country estate at Sambhal in the last 
stage of fever. The doctors were powerless, and it 
was suggested that nothing could save him but some 
supreme sacrifice to God. Babar eagerly caught at 
the hope, and resolved at once to lay down his life for 

1 The following account is from a most interesting fragment 
appended to Babar's Memoirs, which does not occur in the Persian 
or Turki texts of the complete work (Pavet de Courteille, ii. 457-460) . 
Dr. Teufel (Zeitschr. D.M.G., xxxvii, 141 ff.) endeavours to show that 
part of this fragment is translated from Abu-1-Fazl's Akbar-ndma. 
and therefore a forgery ; but it is quite possible that Abu-1-Fazl, 
as Mr. Beveridge suggests, may have heard the story from Babar's 
daughter Gul-badan, or from Shaikh Zain-ad-din. There are, 
however, linguistic difficulties and other differences from the 
general style of the Memoirs which are not easily reconciled. 

EMPIRE . 199 

his son. In vain the wise men remonstrated, and 
begged him to give riches and treasure, or the great 
diamond of the Rajas — anything but himself. 'Is 
there any stone,' he answered, 'that can be weighed 
against my son? Rather shall I pay his ransom 
myself, for he is in a grievous case, and my strength 
must bear his weakness.' He entered his son's cham- 
ber, and going to the head of the bed, walked gravely 
three times round the sick man, saying the while: 

I On me be all that thou art suffering.' One thinks of 
the great scene in Alcestis : — 

crv tov avras 

€t\cls TToaiv avrl acis afJLtixj/at,. 
\j/vxa$ ef " Ai8a. KOV(f>a vol 
\6o)V iTTavwOt irio-OL. 

' 1 have prevailed,' at last he was heard to cry ; 

I I have taken it ! ' Indeed, in his own words : ' At 
that moment I felt myself quite borne down, whilst 
he became buoyant and well. He arose in complete 
health, and I — I sank down in extreme illness. 
I called the chief men of the empire and the persons 
of greatest influence, and putting their hands in 
Humayun's in token of investiture, I solemnly 
proclaimed him my successor, and assigned him the 

These were probably almost the last words Babar 
wrote, — if, indeed, he wrote them at all. The frequent 
illnesses from which he had suffered in India, cul- 
minating in the nervous prostration that succeeded 


his anxiety for his son, had undermined his great 
strength. On December 26, 1530, he passed away in 
his beautiful garden-palace at Agra — a man of only 
forty-eight, a king of thirty-six years — but years 
crowded with events, with hardships, tumult, and 
strenuous energy. The boy prince who had fought 
for his heritage long and indomitably with hordes 
of savage Mongols and Uzbegs, and only relinquished 
the hope of his ancestral throne after a struggle of 
twenty years, had at last found the way to a greater 
and nobler empire — whose splendour and ancient 
glory he had not yet learned to realize — but which he 
left, a magnificent heirloom, for his grandson Akbar 
to cherish and enrich. 

Babar lies in his grave in the garden on the hill at 
Kabul, which he had chosen for his tomb, — 'the 
sweetest spot of the neighbourhood,' — surrounded by 
those he loved, by the sweet-smelling flowers of his 
choice, and the cool running stream, beside which he 
once delighted to sit and gaze on the beautiful world. 
The people still flock to the spot, and offer prayers at 
the simple mosque which an august descendant built 
in memory of the founder of the Indian Empire. 
Babar was dead, but he had done what nothing could 

Death makes no conquest of this Conqueror, 
For now he lives in Fame. 


Abatis, 162, 164. 
Abdaba, 129. 
'Abd-ab-Rahim, Mirzi,, 14. 
'Abd-ab-Razzak, 87, 1 21-123. 
Ab-i-1stada, 96-98. 
Abstinence, 35,152-153,177,196. 
Abu-l-Fazl, 6, 198 n. 
Abu-Sa'id MiRZA, 1 7. 
Adinapur, 93, 121. 
Afghanistan, 88, 93 ff. 
AfghAns, 95-97, 100, 101, 131, 

127, 15611'., 173, 182, 186-192. 
Agba, 165, 169, 188, 189. 
Ahmad Khan Alacha, 20, 67- 

69, 73, 85, 86. 
Ahmad Mirza, 18, 24, 25, 31, 32. 
'Aisha, 22, 55, I93». 
Ailak, 43, 44, 52. 

AlMAK, 91, I03. 

Akbab-nama, 6, 198 n. 

Akhsi, 19, 25, 27, 41, 46, 69, 75, 

85, 86. 
'Ala-ad-din ('Alam-Khan\ 157— 

'Ali Dost, 44, 45, 49-51. 
'Ali Shir, 104. 

'Ali, Sultan, 36, 39, 41-43, 5 1 - 
'Ali, see Kambar, Ustacl. 
Andabab, 90. 
Andijan, 19, 23, 27, 40, 41, 46, 48, 

49, 63, 69, 71, 84, 188. 
Abghun Begs, 87, 1 18-120, 155. 
Arghwan, 94. 
Asfaba, 36, 86. 

'ASKABT, 190, 191. 

Babar (Zahfr-ad-dm-Muhammad) 
— his Memoirs and character 9- 
16, birth (Feb. 14, 1483) 21, 
named B^bar by Mongols 22, 
visits Samarkand (aet. 5) 22, 
education, influence of women, 
his grandmother 22,23; ascends 
throne of Farghana (June, 
1494) 23, invasion and retreat 
of two uncles 24, 25, his grande 
■idie 25 ; the fertility of Far- 
ghana 26-28, the people 28, 29 ; 
Bulbar a Turco- Mongol or Cha- 
ghat^i 29, his father 29, 30, 
courtiers 30, 31, uncle Ahmad 
31, 32, Bdbar's personal influ- 
ence 33, 34; plot against him 
35, good resolves 35, his first 
invasion and conquest of Samar- 
kand (Nov., 1497) 36-39, de- 
serted by rebellious troops 39, 
illness 39, loses Samarkand and 
Farghana 40, 41 ; reduced to 
Khojend 41, 42, takes refuge in 
Ailjik hills for want of other 
asylum 43, hatred of Khusrau 

43, is restored to Marghinan 

44, 45, recovers rest of Far- 
ghana 46, renewed rebellion of 
Mongols 47, war and hunting, 
47, 48, treaty of partition with 
his brother Jahdngfr 48 ; nomi- 
nal Kingship 49, second inva- 
sion of Samarkand 50, inter- 
vention of Shaibani 51 ; second 
flight to Ailak 52, second con- 



quest of Samarkand (1500) 53, 
defeated by Shaibani at Sar-i- 
pul (1501) 57, 58, defence of 
Samarkand 58, 59, third flight 
to the hills 59-63 ; visits Tish- 
kend 64, Mongol ceremonies 65- 
68, campaign with the Khans 
in Farghina (1502) 69, capture 
of Ush, Uzkend, &c. 69, attempt 
upon AndijjCn 69, 70, surprised 
and routed by Tambal 71, 72, 
wounds and surgery 73, 74 ; 
invited to Akhsi 74, 75, betrayed 
and expelled 76, 77, an exciting 
escape and great ride 78-81, 
betrayed at Karman 81-83, 
rescued 84 ; successes of Shai- 
bini, defeat and death of the 
Khans 85, 86 ; fourth flight to 
the hills (1503) 86 ; designs on 
Kabul 87, 88, advance through 
Hisar 89, meeting with Khus- 
rau 90, accession of Mongol 
troops 91, crossing the Hindu 
Kiish 92, conquest of Kibul 
(Oct., 1504) 92, his new king- 
dom 93, love of nature 94, 
Afghan tribes 95, expedition to 
Indian frontier (1505) 96-98, 
conquest of KhilaVi-G hilzii 98, 
99, punitive expeditions against 
tribes 100, 1 01 ; journey to 
Herit (1506) 102, 103, luxury 
and culture 103-108, return 
march through snow over the 
mountains to Kibul (1506-7) 
109-113, suppression of rebel- 
lion there 114, generous treat- 
ment of traitors 115, 116, 117; 
conquest and loss of Kandahar 
1 18-120, panic at approach of 
Shaibini 120, 1 21, Bibar 
assumes title of Padishah 121, 
Mongol rebellion at Kibul 122, 
123, Bihar's clemency 123, 124, 
hospitality to Haidar Mfrzi 
(1508) 124, 125, and to Sa'i'd 
Khin 1 26 ; last invasion, con- 
quest and loss of Samarkand 
(1511) 1 28-1 33, battle of Abdara 
1 29-1 31, B.lbar emperor in 

Transoxiana 131, alliance with 
Persian Shih and Shiah tenets 
132, 133, dissatisfaction of popu- 
lace 133, defeats at Kul Malik 
and Ghazdivan (1512) 133, 
flight to Hisar 134, and Kun- 
duz 135, return to Kabul (1513- 
1514) 135 ; designs upon Hin- 
dustan 137, slow realization of 
his aim 138, siege of Bajaur 
(1519) 139-142, his European 
cannon 140, 141, brutality to 
vanquished 142 ; advance across 
Indus to Bhira 143, return to 
Kibul 144; habits of intoxica- 
tion 144-149, strong constitu- 
tion 149, self-control 150, good 
resolutions 151, final renuncia- 
tion of drink 152, 153, conquest 
of Kandahar (1522) 154 ; in- 
cursions into the Panjiib 154, 
155 ; the kingdom of Delhi 156, 
157 ; Bibar called in 157, 158 ; 
his great invasion of India 
(1525) 159, advance on Delhi 
160, battle of Panfpat (Apr. IX, 
1526) 1 61-166, a laager of gun- 
carts 161, tactics 161, 164, occu- 
pation of Delhi and Agra 165, 
immense treasure 166, Bibar's 
diamond 167, generosity 167, 
168; hostility of the country 
and murmuring of the troops 
169, 170, Bihar's fortitude 170- 
172; Rana Sanga of Chitor 
173-175, Rajput advance 175, 
Babar's preparations 176, 177, 
speech to the soldiers 177, 178, 
order of battle 178, 179, num- 
bers 179, battle of Kanwalia 
(Mar. 16, 1527) 179-182, storm- 
ing of Chanderi 182, 183; re- 
duction of Hindustan 185, 186, 
campaign in Bihar (1528) 186, 
bridging the Ganges 187, artil- 
lery 187 ; Bibar swims the 
Ganges 188, entertainment at 
Agra 188 ; further war in Bihar 
189, 190, defeat of Bengal army 
(1529) 191, forcing the Gogra 
192, collapse of the Afghan 



power 192 ; return to Agra 193, 
wife and family 1 93, 1 94, opinion 
of India and the Indians 194, 

195, longing for Kabul 195, 

196, abstinence 196, advice to 
Humayun 197, love of his son 
198, for whom he sacrifices his 
life 199; death of Babar (Dec. 
26, 1530) 199 ; his grave at 
K£bul 200. 

Babari hand, 95, 197. 
Backgammon, 30. 
Badakhshan, 19, 98, 120, 127, 

i35» 154- 
Badaoni, 166. . 

BADf'-AZ-ZAMAN, I05, 108. 

Baikara, see Husain. 
Baisanghar, 37, 44. 
Bajaur, 139-143. 
Baki Beg, 89-92, 99. 
Balkh, 26, 102. 
Ball, Prof. V., 167 n. 
BayazId, Shaikh, 74-78, 82, 85. 
Bengal campaign, 190-192. 
Beveridge, Mr. H., 6, 167, 194 n, 

198 n. 
Bhang, 145-148, 192. 
BhIra, 143, 155, 158. 

BlANA, 175, 176. 

Bli.Ni, 104. 

Bihar campaigns, 182, 186-189. 

Bukhara, 26, 27, 131. 

Cannon, 140-142, 161, 162, 164, 

178-181, 187, 191, 192. 
Canopus, 92. 

Chanderi, siege of, 182, 183. 
Char-bagh, 93, 189. 
Chihil Situn, 38. 

CHfN TlMUR, 179. 

China House, 38. 
Chingiz, 9, 19, 29, 95, 105. 
ChItor, 173. 
Chunar, 190. 
Coins, 5, 6, 132, 133. 

Darmesteter, Prof. J., 6. 
Daulat Khan, 157-160. 
Delhi, 165. 

Delhi kingdom, 156 ff„ 166, 169. 
Dendan Shikan Pass, 103. 

Dholpur, 169, 175, 190. 
Diamond, Bazar's, 167, 199. 
Dibalpur, 158, 159. 
Dig Ghazi cannon, 187. 
Doab, 172, 173. 
Dost Beg, 70, 72, 91, 139, 140. 
Dowson, Prof, 6. 
Drunkenness, 22, 30, 32, 106, 

107, 1446°. 
Dughlat Amirs, 21, 25, 42, 57, 


Echo Mosque, 39. 
Ellas, Consul, 5, 6, 86 n. 
Entrenchments, 162, 163, 177. 
Erskine, Mr. W„ 5, 6, 15, 174, 

Farabi, 26. 

Farghana, 19, 25, 27, 28, 46, 56, 

73,87, 132. 

Farinji guns, see Cannon. 
Fruits, 27, 39, 42, 94. 

Gakars, 144, 155. 

Game and Sport, 28, 32, 47, 48, 

94, 127. 
Gardens, 27, 37-39, 93, 103, 127, 

149, 189, 200. 

GARMSfR, I54. 

Ghazdivan, battle, 133. 
Ghazi, title, 181 : see Dig. 
Ghazni, 19, 123, 138, 159. 

GHtfRBAND, 92. 

Gogra, passage of, 191, 192. 


Gul-badan, Memoirs of, 5, 198. 
Guns, see Cannon, Matchlocks. 

GWALIAR, 169, I75. 

Haidar, Mfrz£, 5, 10 n, 114-117, 
123, 124, 130, 132, 161 n\ see 

Hammer, J. von, 162 n. 

Hamza Sultan, 129. 

Hasan Ya'kub Beg, 30, 35. 

Hazara, 91, 95, 96, 100, 101, 109. 

Herat, 19, 101-109, 117, 118. 

Hindu Kush, 92, 94. 

Hindustan, Bazar's description 
of, 194, 195- 



Hindustan, B^bar's invasions of, 

137 ft, i54«- 
Hisar, 19, 36, 43, 51, 87, 89, 134, 


HlSAR-FfRUZA, l6o. 

Humayun, 154, 159-161 n, 166, 

!73, i79, !9 6 -9- 
Hunter, Sir W. W., 6. 
Hunting, 28, 32, 47, 48, 94, 

Hupiyan Pass, 92. 
Husain Baikara, Sultan, 19, 36, 

56, 87, 102, 103. 

HUSHIYAR, 86, 188. 

Ibrahim, SuMn, 156-165. 
Ilak, 89. 
Ilamish, 47. 
Ilminaki, M., 15. 
Ils and Uluses, 69, 91. 
Indus, Bsibar reaches the, 96. 
Isan-daulat, Babar's grand- 
mother, 23, 24, 35, 41,63, 114. 

ISKANDAR, Mfrz£, 5. 

Isma'il, Sh£h, 128, 129, 132, 133. 

Jahangir Mirza, 21 n, 40, 48, 49, 
56,63, 76,77,91,100,103,106, 
107, 123. 

Jamal, Shaikh, 23. 

J ami, 104. 

Jaunpur, 173, 189, 191. 

Jihad, 175. 

Kabul, 19, 86-101, 113-127, 138, 
144, 152, 157, 158, 189, 196, 

Kafiristan,95, 144. 

Kahmard, 102. 

Kambar (Kanbar) 'Ali,31,50, 60, 
69, 79, 91. 

Kamran, 197. 

Kanauj, 161, 182. 

Kandahar, 87, 118-120, 123, 


Kanwaha, battle, 1 78-1 81. 

Karman, 69, 81. 

Kasan, 25, 46. 

Kashgar, ax, 25. 

Kasim Kochin, 91, 108-110. 

Keene, Mr. H. G., 6. 

Khadlja Begum, 105, 106. 
Khaldiran, battle, 162 n. 
Khan, title, 20 n. 
Khan Mirza (Wais), 91,1 13-116, 

126, 127,130, 135, 154. 
Khawal Koti, hi. 
Khilat-i-Ghilzai, 98, 99. 
Khojend, 24, 27, 36,40,41,42, 

55, 86. 
Khotan, 25. 
Khurasan, 19, 89. 
Khusrau Shah, 43,44,51, 87,89- 

Khwaja Kalan, 159, 170, 171, 

195, 197- 
Khwajas, 24, 31, 40, 50, 53, 69, 

83, 84, 188. 
KhwandamIr, 104. 

KlMAL, I44. 

Kish, 51. 

KlZILBASH, I29, I34. 

Kohik (Zar-afshan), 38, 58. 
Koran, oath upon, 178. 
Kul Malik, battle, 133. 
kuli kukildash, 72, 76-79. 
Kunduz, 19, 43, 87, 90, 91, 135. 

Laager, tactics, 161 n. 
Lahore, 158, 159. 
Leyden, Dr. J., 5, 15. 
Lodis, 156 ff., 169, 179, 180, 189, 

Madu, 47. 

Maham, 193 n. 

Mahmands, 95. 

Mahmud Khan, 20, 24, 25,41, 56, 

64-68, 73, 85, 86. 
Mahmud MIrza, 19, 35. 
Marghinan, 24, 27, 44, 45, 69. 
Mas'ud Mirza, 43. 
Ma'suma, 109, i93n. 
Matchlocks, 140-142, 161, 162 n, 

187, 191,19* 

Mawarannahr (Transoxiana), 18, 

MedIni Rao, 182, 183. 
Memoirs of Babar, 5, 7, 10-15, 

Mew at, 169, 175. 
Mirkhwand, 104. 



Mirza, title, 19 n, 20 n. 
Mongols, 19, 20, 22, 28, 29, 39, 
46>58, 65-70, 90, 91, 98, 113, 

122, 134, 135, 139. 
Muhammad Husain Dughlat, 

114-117, 124, 125. 
Muhammad Salih, 5. 
Muk£m Beg, 87, 92. 
Murghab, 103. 
Music, it, 104, 107, 145. 
Mustafa Rumi, 176, 180, 192. 


Najm, M(r, 134. 

Nasir Mirza, 21 n, 80, 91, 98, 

123, 138, 139. 
Nasrat Shah, 190. 
Nasukh, 42. 

Nizam- ad-din Khalifa, 182. 

NUSH-AB, 47. 

Oman, Mr. C, 162 n. 

'Omar Shaikh, 17, 19, 21, 24, 29, 

Orakzais, 95. 
Otrar, 21. 
Ottoman (Osmanli) tactics, 162?*, 

176, 177. 
Oudh, 173. 

Padishah, title, 121. 
Panipat, battle, 161-166. 
Panjkend, 63, 65. 
Pavet de Courteille, M., 5, 1 5, 

Perhala, 144. 
Persians, 28, 132-135. 
Pishka8H, 68, 190. 
Poetry, 10-12, 56, 58, 61, 64, 66, 

92, 97, 104, 117, 151, 152, 196. 
Poole, Prot. R. S., 6, 132. 
Popinjay, Mongol, 32. 
Portraits, Indian, 7. 
Punishments, 92, 97, 142, 143. 

Rajput War, 173-184. 

Revenue of K^bul, 74 ; of Hin- 
dustan, 185 n. 

Ross, Prof. E. D., 5, 86 n. 

Rumi (Ottoman) tactics and gun- 
ners, 162 n. 

Sa'id Khan, 126, 134. 

s air am, i3i. 

Samanids, 26. 

Samarkand, 18, 20-22, 26, 36- 

4 1 * 43, 49-6o, 73, 102,131-133, 

Sambhal, 173. 
Sanga Rana, 173-184, 
Sar-i-pul, battle, 56-58. 
Sarts, 28, 62. 
Shah Beg, 118, 154. 
Shah Begum, 66, 114, 115, 127. 
Shahrukhiya, 64, 86. 
Shaibani Khan (Sh^hi Beg), 37, 

44, 5 J -54, 56-60, 63, 73, 75, 85, 

86, 98, 101, 102, 117-121, 128, 

129, 133. , 
Shaibani-nama, 5, 60 n. 
Shiah, 132-135. 
Shibertu Pass, 98, 102. 
Shir Khan, 161 n, 190. 
Sialkot, 155, 139. 

SlKRI, 152, 176. 

Sir-i-Tak, 52. 

Sirs aw a, 160. 

Snow, march in, 110-113. 

Suhail (Canopus), 92. 

Sukh, 86, 188. 

Sultan, title, 18 n. 

Sultan Nigar Khanim, 114 n. 

Superstition, 25, 83, 95, 166, 

Surgery, 73, 74. 
Surkhab, 135. 
Swat, 139. 
Swimming, 63, 64. 

Tactics, 57, 161 ff., 176-181. 

TAjiks, 28, 36, 93. 

Tambal (Tanbal), 39, 40, 46-52, 

Tamgha, stamp-tax, 153. 
Tardi Beg, 148, 175. 
Tarikh-i-Rashidi, 5, ion, 86 «, 

115, 116, 118 n, 124, 125, 126, 

132, 161 n. 
Tarkhans, 21, 50,56,57. 
Tashkend, 20, 24, 42, 64, 66-68, 

85, 131- 
Teufel, Prof., 6, 198 w. 



Timur (Tamerlane), 17, 26, 38, 

63, 96. 
Tod, Col., 174ft, 18 in. 
Treasure, 166, 167. 
Treaties, 48, 75, 192. 
Tripods, 177. 
Tug, 65 n. 

Tulughma, tactics, 57, 163, 164. 
Tura, 47, 140, 161. 
turkistan, 21, 37. 
Turkmans, 129, 134. 
Turks, 28-32. 
Tuzak-i-Babari, 5, 7, 10-15, &c. 

Ulugh Beg, 26, 38. 

Ulugh Beg, the younger, 19, 87. 

Uratipa, 21, 24, 42, 50, 61, 85. 

UZBEGS, 21, 37, I29-I35, I59; 

see Sbaib^ni. 

Uzkend, 25, 47, 48, 69. 

Vambery, Prof. A., 5. 

Wagons, in battles, 1 61 n. 
Wakai'-i-Babari, 5, 7, 10-15, &c. 
Wine, 93, 105-108, 144 ff., 196. 
Women of BiCbar's family, 21-23, 

4 1 , 55> 59, 60, 109, 114, 115, 

193. 194. 

Yule, Sir H., 6. 
Yunus Khan, 20, 21, 23, 29. 
Yurat Khan, 50, 53. 
Yusufzais, 95, 99, 19371. 

Zain-ad-din, Shaikh, 5, 153, 

181 n. 
ZarIba, 47, 56, 69. 


> • < 

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Moghul Empire, do. Third Thousand. 2*. 6c?. 

VII. LORD CLIVE: and the Establishment of the English in 
India, by Colonel Malleson, C.S.I. Third Thousand. 
28. 6cL 

VIII. DUPLEIX: and the Struggle for India by the European 
Nations, by Colonel Malleson, C.S.I., Author of The 
History of the French in India, &c. Fifth Thousand. 2*. 6d. 


IX. WARREN HASTINGS: and the Founding of the British 
Administration, by Captain L. J. Trotter, Author of India 
under Victoria, &c. Fifth thousand. 2s. 6d. 

X. THE MARQUESS CORNWALLIS : and the Consolida- 
tion of British Rule, by W. S. Seton-Karr, Esq., sometime 
Foreign Secretary to the Government of India, Author of 
Selections from the Calcutta Gazettes, 3 vols. (1 784-1 805). 
Fourth thousand. 2s. 6d. 

XI. EAIDAR Alt AND TIPUSULTAN: and the Struggle with 
the Muhammadan Powers of the South, by Lewin Bentham 
Bowring, Esq., C.S.I., sometime Private Secretary to the 
Viceroy (Lord Canning) and Chief Commissioner of Mysore, 
Author of Eastern Experiences. Third thousand. 2s. 6d. 

XII. TEE MARQUESS WELLESLET : and the Development 
of the Company into the Supreme Power in India, by the 
Rev. W. H. Hutton, B.D., Fellow and Tutor of St. John's 
College, Oxford. Third thousand. 2s. 6d. 

XIII. TEE MARQUESS OF HASTINGS: and the Final Overthrow 
of the Mardthd Power, by Major Ross op Bladensburo, 
C.B., Coldstream Guards; F.R.G.S. 2«. 6d. 

South- Western India, by J. S. Cotton, Esq., M.A., formerly 
Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford, Author of The Decennial 
Statement of the Moral and Material Progress and Condition 
of India, presented to Parliament (1885), &c. Third 
thousand. 2s. dd. 

XV. SIR THOMAS MUNRO: and the British Settlement of the 
Madras Presidency, by John Bradshaw, Esq., M.A., LL.D., 

late Inspector of Schools, Madras. 2s. 6d. 

XVI. EARL AMEERST: and the British Advance easttoards 
to Burma, chiefly from unpublished papers of the Amherst 
family, by Mrs. Anne Thackeray Ritchie, Author of 
Old Kensington, &c, and Richardson Evans, Esq. 2*. 6d. 


XVII. LORD WILLIAM BENTINCE: and the Company as a 
Governing and Non-trading Power, by Demetrius Boulger, 
Esq., Author of England and Russia in Central Asia; The 
History of China, &c. Third thousand. 2s. 6d. 

XVIII. EARL OF AUCKLAND: and the First Afghan War, by 
Captain L. J. Trotter, Author of India under Victoria, &c. 
28. 6d. 

XIX. VISCOUNT HARDIN GE : and the Advance of the British 

Dominions into the Punjab, by his Son and Private Secretary, 
the Right Hon. Viscount Hardinge. Third thousand. 2*. 6d. 

XX. RAN JIT SINGH: and the Sikh Barrier between our Growing 

Empire and Central Asia, by Sir Lepel Griffin, K.C.S.I., 
Author of The Punjab Chiefs, &c. Fourth thousand. 2s. 6d. 

XXI. JOHN RUSSELL COLVIN: the last Lieutenant-Governor 
of the North-Western Provinces under the Company, by his 
son, Sir Auckland Colvin, K.C.S.I., late Lieutenant-Governor 
of the North- Western Provinces. 2s. 6d. 

Development of the Company's Rule, by Sir William Wilson 
Hunter, K.C.S.L, M.A. Seventh thousand. 2*. 6d. 

XXIII. CLYDE AND STRATHNAIRN: and the Suppression of 

the Great Revolt, by Major-General Sir Owen Tudor 
Burne, K.C.S.L, sometime Military Secretary to the Com- 
mander-in-Chief in India. Fourth thousand. 2s. 6d. 

XXIV. EA RL CANNING : and the Transfer of India from the 

Company to the Crown, by Sir Henry S. Cunningham, 
K.C.I.E., M.A., Author of British India and its Rulers, &c. 
Fourth thousand. 2s. 6d. 

XXV. L ORD LA W PENCE : and the Reconstruction of India under 
the Crown, by Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison, K.C.S.L, 
LL.D., formerly Foreign Secretary to the Government of India, 
and Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab. Fourth thousand. 2*. 6d. 


XXVI. TEE EARL OF MAYO: and the Consolidation of the 
Queen's Rule in India, by Sir William Wilson Hunter, 
K.C.S.I., M.A., LL.D. Third thousand. 2*. 6d. 

Supplementary Volumes. 

XXVII. JAMES TEOMASON : and the British Settlement of North- 

Western India,by Sir Richard Temple, Bart., M. P., formerly 
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, and Governor of Bombay 
Price 38. 6d. 

XXVIII. SIR HENRY LA WRENCE : The Pacificator. By Lieut.- 

General J. J. M c Leod Innes, R.E., V.C. Price 3*. 6d. 

The Clarendon Press History of India, 3s. 6d. 


Standard Edition (Twenty-second), revised to 1895. 
Eighty-fourth Thousand. 

This Edition incorporates the suggestions received by the author 
from Directors of Public Instruction and other educational authorities 
in India; its statistics are brought down to the Census of 1891 ; and 
its narrative to 1892. The work has received the emphatic approval 
of the organ of the English School Boards, and has been translated 
into five languages. It is largely employed for educational purposes in 
Europe and America and as a text-book prescribed by the University 
of Calcutta for its Entrance Examination from 1886 to 1891. 

"'A Brief History of the Indian Peoples," by W. W. Hunter, pre- 
sents a sort of bird's-eye view both of India and of its people from the 
earliest dawn of historical records. ... A work of authority and of 
original value.' — The Daily Netcs (London). 

1 Dr. Hunter may be said to have presented a compact epitome of the 
results of his researches into the early history of India ; a subject upon 
which his knowledge is at once exceptionally wide and exceedingly 
thorough.' — The Scotsman. 

' Within the compass of some 250 pages we know of no history of the 
people of India so concise, so interesting, and so useful for educational 
purposes as this.' — The School Board Chronicle (London). 

' For its size and subject there is not a better written or more trust- 
worthy history in existence.' — The Journal of Education. 

* So thoroughly revised as to entitle it to separate notice.' — The Times. 

1 Dr. Hunter's history, if brief, is comprehensive. It is a storehouse 
of facts marshalled in a masterly style ; and presented, as history 
should be, without the slightest suspicion of prejudice or suggestion of 
partisanship. Dr. Hunter observes a style of severe simplicity, which 
is the secret of an impressive presentation of details.' — The Daily 
Review (Edinburgh). 

' By far the best manual of Indian History that has hitherto been 
published, and quite equal to any of the Historical Series for Schools 
edited by Dr. Freeman. We trust that it will soon be read in all the 
schools in this Presidency.' — The Times of India. 

Extract from a criticism by Edward Giles, Esq., Inspector of Schools, 
Northern Division, Bombay Presidency: — 'What we require is a 
book which shall be accurate as to facts, but not overloaded with 
them ; written in a style which shall interest, attract, and guide un- 
cultivated readers ; and short, because it must be sold at a reasonable 
price. These conditions have never, in my opinion, been realized 
previous to the introduction of this book.' 

' The publication of the Hon. W. W. Hunter's " School History of 
India " is an event in literary history.' — Reis & Rayyet (Calcutta). 

1 He has succeeded in writing a history of India, not only in such a 
way that it will be read, but also in a way which we hope will lead 
young Englishmen and young natives of India to think more kindly 
of each other. The Calcutta University has done wisely in prescribing 
this brief history as a text- book for the Entrance Examination.' — The 
Hindoo Patriot (Calcutta). 

©pinions of t&e Press 



Fourth Edition. Seventh Thousand. 

1 An interesting and exceedingly readable volume Sir William 

Hunter has produced a valuable work about an important epoch in 
English history in India, and he has given us a pleasing insight into 
the character of a remarkable Englishman. The " Rulers of India" 
series, which he has initiated, thus makes a successful beginning in his 
hands with one who ranks among the greatest of the great names which 
will be associated with the subject.' — The Times. 

* To no one is the credit for the improved condition of public intelli- 
gence [regarding India] more due than to Sir William Hunter. From 
the beginning of his cax-eer as an Indian Civilian he has devoted a rare 
literary faculty to the task of enlightening his countrymen on the subject 
of England's greatest dependency. . . . By inspiring a small army of 
fellow-labourers with his own spirit, by inducing them to conform to his 
own method, and shaping a huge agglomeration of facts into a lucid and 
intelligible system, Sir W. Hunter has brought India and its innumer- 
able interests within the pale of achievable knowledge, and has given 
definite shape to the truths which its history establishes and the 
problems which it suggests. . . . Such contributions to literature are apt to 
be taken as a matter of course, because their highest merit is to conceal 
the labour, and skill, and knowledge involved in their production ; but 
they raise the whole level of public intelligence, and generate an 
atmosphere in which the baleful influences of folly, ignorance, prejudice, 
and presumption dwindle and disappear.' — Saturday Review. 

'Admirably calculated to impart in a concise and agreeable form a clear 
general outline of the history of our great Indian Empire.' — Economist. 

* A skilful and most attractive picture. . . . The author has made good 
use of public and private documents, and has enjoyed the privilege of 
being aided by the deceased statesman's family. His little work is, 
consequently, a valuable contribution to modern history.' — Academy. 

' The book should command a wide circle of readers, not only for its 
author's sake and that of its subject, but partly at least on account of 
the very attractive way in which it has been published at the moderate 
price of half-a-crown. But it is, of course, by its intrinsic merits alone 
that a work of this nature should be judged. And those merits are 
everywhere conspicuous. ... A writer whose thorough mastery of all 
Indian subjects has been acquired by years of practical experience and 
patient research.' — The Athenaeum. 

' Never have we been so much impressed by the great literary abilities 
of Sir William Hunter as we have been by the perusal of "The Marquess 
of Dalhousie." . . . The knowledge displayed by the writer of the motives 
of Lord Dalhousie's action, of the inner working of his mind, is so com- 
plete, that Lord Dalhousie himself, were he living, could not state them 
more clearly. . . . Sir William Hunter's style is so clear, his language 
so vivid, and yet so simple, conveying the impressions he wishes so per- 
spicuously that they cannot but be understood, that the work must have 
a place in every library, in every home, we might say indeed every 
cottage.' — Evening News. 

* Sir William Hunter has written an admirable little volume on 
" The Marquess of Dalhousie " for his series of the " Rulers of India." 
It can be read at a sitting, yet its references — expressed or implied — 
suggest the study and observation of half a life-time.' — The Daily News. 

©pinions of tbe Press 



Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

1 Sir William W. Hunter has contributed a brief but admirable 
biography of the Earl of Mayo to the series entitled " Rulers of India," 
edited by himself (Oxford, at the Clarendon Press).' — The Times. 

' In telling this story in the monograph before us, Sir William 
Hunter has combined his well-known literary skill with an earnest 
sympathy and fulness of knowledge which are worthy of all commenda- 
tion. . . . The world is indebted to the author for a fit and attractive 
record of what was eminently a noble life.' — The Academy. 

1 The sketch of The Man is full of interest, drawn as it is with com- 
plete sympathy, understanding, and appreciation. But more valuable 
is the account of his administration. No one can show so well and 
clearly as Sir William Hunter does what the policy of Lord Mayo con- 
tributed to the making of the Indian Empire of to-day.' — The Scotsman. 

' Sir William Hunter has given us a monograph in which there is a 
happy combination of the essay and the biography. We are presented 
with the main features of Lord Mayo's administration unencumbered 
with tedious details which would interest none but the most official of 
Anglo-Indians ; while in the biography the man is brought before us, 
not analytically, but in a life-like portrait.' — Vanity Fair. 

1 The story of his life Sir W. W. Hunter tells in well-chosen language 
— clear, succinct, and manly. Sir W. W. Hunter is in sympathy with 
his subject, and does full justice to Mayo's strong, genuine nature. 
Without exaggeration and in a direct, unaffected style, as befits his 
theme, he brings the man and his work vividly before us.' — The 
Glasgow Herald. 

' All the knowledge acquired by personal association, familiarity with 
administrative details of the Indian Government, and a strong grasp of 
the vast problems to be dealt with, is utilised in this presentation of 
Lord Mayo's personality and career. Sir W. Hunter, however, never 
overloads his pages, and the outlines of the sketch are clear and firm.* 
— The Manchester Express. 

'This is another of the " Rulers of India" series, and it will be hard 
to beat. . . . Sir William Hunter's perception and expression are here at 
their very best.' — The Pall Mall Gazette. 

'The latest addition to the "Rulers of India" series yields to none of 
its predecessors in attractiveness, vigour, and artistic portraiture. . . . 
The final chapter must either be copied verbally and literally — which 
the space at our disposal will not permit — or be left to the sorrowful 
perusal of the reader. The man is not to be envied who can read it with 
dry eyes.' — Allen's Indian Mail. 

1 The little volume which has just been brought out is a study of Lord 
Mayo's career by one who knew all about it and was in full sympathy 
with it. . . . Some of these chapters are full of spirit and fire. The 
closing passages, the picture of the Viceroy's assassination, cannot fail 
to make any reader hold his breath. We know what is going to 
happen, but we are thrilled as if we did not know it, and were still 
held in suspense. The event itself was so terribly tragic that any 
ordinary description might seem feeble and laggard. But in this 
volume we are made to feel as we must have felt if we had been on 
the spot and seen the murderer " fastened like a tiger " on the back of 
the Viceroy.' — Daily Nevje, Leading Article. 


©pinion? of t&e Press 



Third Edition. Fourth Thousand. 

'This new volume of the "Rulers of India" series keeps up to the 
high standard set by the author of " The Marquess of Dalhousie." For 
dealing with the salient passages in Lord Cornwallis's Indian career no 
one could have been better qualified than the whilom foreign secretary 
to Lord Lawrence.' — The At hence um. 

'We hope that the volumes on the "Rulers of India" which are 
being published by the Clarendon Press are carefully read by a lai'ge 
section of the public. There is a dense wall of ignorance still standing 
between the average Englishman and the greatest dependency of the 
Crown ; although we can scarcely hope to see it broken down altogether, 
some of these admirable biographies cannot fail to lower it a little. . . . 
Mr. Seton-Karr has succeeded in the task, and he has not only pre- 
sented a large mass of information, but he has brought it together in an 
attractive form. . . . We strongly recommend the book to all who wish 
to enlarge the area of their knowledge with reference to India.' — Neio 
YorJc Herald. 

1 We have already expressed our sense of the value and timeliness of 
the series of Indian historical retrospects now issuing, under the editor- 
ship of Sir W. W. Hunter, from the Clarendon Press. It is somewhat 
less than fair to say of Mr. Seton-Karr's monograph upon Cornwallis 
that it reaches the high standard of literary workmanship which that 
series has maintained.' — The Literary World. 


' The story of the Burmese War, its causes and its issues, is re-told 
with excellent clearness and directness.' — Saturday Review. 

'Perhaps the brightest volume in the valuable series to which it 
belongs. . . . The chapter on " The English in India in Lord Amherst's 
Governor-Generalship " should be studied by those who wish to under- 
stand how the country was governed in 1824.' — Quarterly Revieto. 

* There are some charming pictures of social life, and the whole book 
is good reading, and is a record of patience, skill and daring. The 
public should read it, that it may be chary of destroying what has been 
so toilsomely and bravely acquired.' — National Observer. 

1 The book will be ranked among the best in the series, both on 
account of the literary skill shown in its composition and by reason of 
the exceptional interest of the material to which the authors have had 
access.' — St. James's Gazette. 

©pinions of tfce press 



Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

' There is no period in Eastern history so full of sensation as the 
reign of Aurangzib. . . . Mr. Lane-Poole tells this story admirably ; 
indeed, it were difficult to imagine it better told.' — National Observer. 

' Mr. Lane-Poole writes learnedly, lucidly, and vigorously. . . . He 
draws an extremely vivid picture of Aurangzib, his strange ascetic 
character, his intrepid courage, his remorseless overthrow of his 
kinsmen, his brilliant court, and his disastrous policy ; and he describes 
the gradual decline of the Mogul power from Akbar to Aurangzib 
with genuine historical insight.' — Times. 

'A well-knit and capable sketch of one of the most remarkable, 
perhaps the most interesting, of theMogulEmperors.' — Saturday Review. 

' As a study of the man himself, Mr. Lane-Poole's work is marked 
by a vigour and originality of thought which give it a very exceptional 
value among works on the subject.' — Glasgow Herald. 

'The most popular and most picturesque account that has yet 
appeared ... a picture of much clearness and force.' — Globe. 

'A notable sketch, at once scholarly and interesting.' — English Mail. 

' No one is better qualified than Mr. Stanley Lane-Poole to take up 
the history and to depict the character of the last of the great Mogul 
monarchs. . . . Aurangzib's career is ever a fascinating study.' — 
Home News. 

1 The author gives a description of the famous city of Shall Jahan, its 
palaces, and the ceremonies and pageants of which they were the scene. 
. . . Mr. Lane-Poole's well-written monograph presents all the most dis- 
tinctive features of Aurangzib's character and career.' — Morning Post. 


' Major Ross of Bladensburg treats his subject skilfully and attrac- 
tively, and his biography of Lord Hastings worthily sustains the high 
reputation of the Series in which it appears.' — The Times. 

1 This monograph is entitled to rank with the best of the Series, the 
compiler having dealt capably and even brilliantly with his materials.' 
— English Mail. 

4 Instinct with interest.' — Glasgow Evening News. 

' As readable as it is instructive.' — Globe. 

' A truly admirable monograph.' — Glasgow Herald. 

' Major Ross has done his work admirably, and bids fair to be one of 
the best writers the Army of our day has given to the country. ... A 
most acceptable and entrancing little volume.' — Daily Chronicle. 

'It is a volume that merits the highest praise. Major Ross of 
Bladensburg has represented Lord Hastings and his work in India 
in the right light, faithfully described the country as it was, and in 
a masterly manner makes one realize how important was the period 
covered by this volume/ — Manchester Courier. 

' This excellent monograph ought not to be overlooked by any one 
who would fully learn the history of British rule in India.'— Manchester 

©pinions of tfre press 



Third Edition. Fifth Thousand. 
4 In the character of Dupleix there was the element of greatness 
that contact with India seems to have generated in so many European 
minds, French as well as English, and a broad capacity for govern- 
ment, which, if suffered to have full play, might have ended in giving 
the whole of Southern India to France. Even as it was, Colonel 
Malleson shows how narrowly the prize slipped from French grasp. 
In 1783 the Treaty of Versailles arrived just in time to save the 
British power from extinction.' — Times. 

* One of the best of Sir W. Hunter's interesting and valuable series. 
Colonel Malleson writes out of the fulness of familiarity, moving with 
ease over a field which he had long ago surveyed in every nook and 
corner. To do a small book as well as this on Dupleix has been done, 
will be recognised by competent judges as no small achievement. 
When one considers the bulk of the material out of which the little 
volume has been distilled, one can still better appreciate the labour 
and dexterity involved in the performance.' — Academy. 

* A most compact and effective history of the French in India in a 
little handbook of 180 pages.' — Nonconformist. 

' Well arranged, lucid and eminently readable, an excellent addition 
to a most useful series.' — Record. 


Fourth Edition. Fifth Thousand. 
1 Colonel Malleson's interesting monograph on Akbar in the "Rulers 
of India" (Clarendon Press) should more than satisfy the general 
reader. Colonel Malleson traces the origin and foundation of the 
Mughal Empire ; and, as an introduction to the history of Muhamma- 
dan India, the book leaves nothing to be desired.' — St. James's Gazette. 

'This volume will, no doubt, be welcomed, even by experts in 
Indian history, in the light of a new, clear, and terse rendering of an 
old, but not worn-out theme. It is a worthy and valuable addition 
to Sir W. Hunter's promising series.' — Athenceum. 

* Colonel Malleson has broken ground new to the general reader. 
The story of Akbar is briefly but clearly told, with an account of what 
he was and what he did, and how he found and how he left India. . . . 
The native chronicles of the reign are many, and from them it is still 
possible, as Colonel Malleson has shown, to construct a living portrait 
of this great and mighty potentate.' — Scots Observer. 

1 The brilliant historian of the Indian Mutiny has been assigned in 
this volume of the series an important epoch and a strong personality 
for critical study, and he has admirably fulfilled his task. . . . Alike in 
dress and style, this volume is a fit companion for its predecessor/ — 
Manchester Guardian. 

HDpinione of tfre Jpress 



Fourth Edition. Ftfth Thousand. 

'The publication, recently noticed in this place, of the "Letters, 
Despatches, and other State Papers preserved in the Foreign Depart- 
ment of the Government of India, 1772-1785," has thrown entirely new 
light from the most authentic sources on the whole history of Warren 
Hastings and his government of India. Captain L. J. Trotter's 
Wahren Hastings is accordingly neither inopportune nor devoid of an 
adequate raison d'etre. Captain Trotter is well known as a competent 
and attractive writer on Indian history, and this is not the first time 
that Warren Hastings has supplied him with a theme.' — The Times. 

'He has put his best work into this memoir. . . . His work is of 
distinct literary merit, and is worthy of a theme than which British 
history presents none nobler. It is a distinct gain to the British race 
to be enabled, as it now may, to count the great" Governor-General 
among those heroes for whom it need not blush.' — Scotsman. 

1 Captain Trotter has done his work well, and his volume deserves 
to stand with that on Dalhousie by Sir William Hunter. Higher 
praise it would be hard to give it.' — New York Herald. 

' Captain Trotter has done full justice to the fascinating story of the 
splendid achievements of a great Englishman.' — Manchester Guardian. 

' A brief but admirable biography of the first Governor-General of 
India.' — Newcastle Chronicle. 

' A book which all must peruse who desire to be "up to date" on 
the subject.' — The Globe. 


Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

' Mr. Keene has the enormous advantage, not enjoyed by every 
producer of a book, of knowing intimately the topic he has taken up. 
He has compressed into these 203 pages an immense amount of informa- 
tion, drawn from the best sources, and presenteefwith much neatness and 
effect.*— The Globe. 

' Mr. Keene tells the story with knowledge and impartiality , and also 
with sufficient graphic power to make it thoroughly readable. The 
recognition of Sindhia in the "Rulers" series is just and graceful, 
and it cannot fail to give satisfaction to the educated classes of our 
Indian fellow-subjects.' — North British Daily Mail. 

1 The volume bears incontestable proofs of the expenditure of con- 
siderable research by the author, and sustains the reputation he had 
already acquired by his "Sketch of the History of Hindustan."' — 
Freeman s Journal. 

1 Among the eighteen rulers of India included in the scheme of Sir 
William Hunter only five are natives of India, and of these the great 
Madhoji Sindhia is, with the exception of Akbar, the most illustrious. 
Mr. H. G. Keene, a well-known and skilful writer on Indian questions, 
is fortunate in his subject, for the career of the greatest bearer of the 
historic name of Sindhia covered the exciting period from the capture of 
Delhi, the Imperial capital, by the Persian Nadir Shah, to the occupation 
<>f the same city by Lord Lake. . . . Mr. Keene gives a lucid description 
<>f his subsequent policy, especially towards the English when he was 
brought face to face with Warren Hastings.' — The Daily Graphic. 

©pinions of tfce Press 



Third Edition. Fourth Thousand. 

' In " Clyde and Strathnairn," a contribution to Sir William Hunter's 
excellent "Rulers of India" series (Oxford, at the Clarendon Press), 
Sir Owen Burne gives a lucid sketch of the military history of the 
Indian Mutiny and its suppression by the two great soldiers who give 
their names to his book. The space is limited for so large a theme, but 
Sir Owen Burne skilfully adjusts his treatment to his limits, and rarely 
violates the conditions of proportion imposed upon him. . . . Sir Owen 
Burne does not confine himself exclusively to the military narrative. 
He gives a brief sketch of the rise and progress of the Mutiny, and 
devotes a chapter to the Reconstruction which followed its suppression. 
. . . — well written, well proportioned, and eminently worthy of the 
series to which it belongs.' — The Times. 

' Sir Owen Burne who, by association, experience, and relations with 
one of these generals, is well qualified for the task, writes with know- 
ledge, perspicuity, and fairness.' — Saturday Revieiv. 

' As a brief record of a momentous epoch in India this little book is 
a remarkable piece of clear, concise, and interesting writing.' — The 
Colonies and India. 

'Sir Owen Burne has written this book carefully, brightly, and 
with excellent judgement, and we in India cannot read such a book 
without feeling that he has powerfully aided the accomplished editor 
of the series in a truly patriotic enterprise.' — Bombay Gazette. 

'The volume on "Clyde and Strathnairn " has just appeared, and 
proves to be a really valuable addition to the series. Considering its 
size and the extent of ground it covers it is one of the best books about 
the Indian Mutiny of which we know.' — Englishman. 

' Sir Owen Burne, who has written the latest volume for Sir William 
Hunter's " Rulers of India " series, is better qualified than any living 
person to narrate, from a military standpoint, the story of the suppres- 
sion of the Indian Mutiny.' — Daily Telegraph. 

'Sir Owen Burne's book on "Clyde and Strathnairn" is worthy to 
rank with the best in the admirable series to which it belongs.' — 
Manchester Examiner. 

'The book is admirably written; and there is probably no better 
sketch, equally brief, of the stirring events with which it deals.' 
— Scotsman. 

1 Sir Owen Burne, from the part he played in the Indian Mutiny, and 
from his long connexion with the Government of India, and from the 
fact that he was military secretary of Lord Strathnairn both in India 
and in Ireland, is well qualified for the task which he has undertaken.' — 
The Athenceum. 

©pinions of tbe Press 


Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

1 An exception to the rule that biographies ought not to be entrusted 
to near relatives. Lord Hardinge, a scholar and an artist, has given 
us an accurate record of his father's long and distinguished services. 
There is no filial exaggeration. The author has dealt with some con- 
troversial matters with skill, and has managed to combine truth with 
tact and regard for the feelings of others.' — The Saturday Revietv. 

'This interesting life reveals the first Lord Hardinge as a brave, 
just, able man, the very soul of honour, admired and trusted equally 
by friends and political opponents. The biographer . . . has produced a 
most engaging volume, which is enriched by many private and official 
documents that have not before seen the light.' — The Anti-Jacobin. 

* Lord Hardinge has accomplished a grateful, no doubt, but, from 
the abundance of material and delicacy of certain matters, a very 
difficult task in a workmanlike manner, marked by restraint and 
lucidity.'— The Fall Mall Gazette. 

1 His son and biographer has done his work with a true appreciation 
of proportion, and has added substantially to our knowledge of the 
Sutlej Campaign.' — Vanity Fair. 

' The present Lord Hardinge is in some respects exceptionally well 
qualified to tell the tale of the eventful four years of his father's 
Governor-Generalship.' — The Times. 

'It contains a full account of everything of importance in Lord 
Hardinge's military and political career ; it is arranged ... so as to 
bring into special prominence his government of India ; and it gives 
a lifelike and striking picture of the man.' — Academy. 

' The style is clear, the treatment dispassionate, and the total result 
a manual which does credit to the interesting series in which it figures.' 
— The Globe. 

' The concise and vivid account which the son has given of his 
father's career will interest many readers.' — The Morning Post. 

' Eminently readable for everybody. The history is given succinctly, 
and the unpublished letters quoted are of real value.' — The Colonies 
and India. 

' Compiled from public documents, family papers, and letters, this 
brief biography gives the reader a clear idea of what Hardinge was, 
both as a soldier and as an administrator.' — The Manchester Examiner. 

* An admirable sketch.' — The New York Herald. 

1 The Memoir is well and concisely written, and is accompanied by 
an excellent likeness after the portrait by Sir Francis Grant.' — The 

©pinions of t&e Iptess 



Thied Edition. Fourth Thousand. 

' Sir Henry Cunningham's rare literary skill and his knowledge 
of Indian life and affairs are not now displayed for the first time, 
and he has enjoyed exceptional advantages in dealing with his 
present subject. Lord Granville, Canning's contemporary at school 
and colleague in public life and one of his oldest friends, furnished his 
biographer with notes of his recollections of the early life of his friend. 
Sir Henry Cunningham has also been allowed access to the Diary of 
Canning's private secretary, to the Journal of his military secretary, 
and to an interesting correspondence between the Governor-General 
and his great lieutenant, Lord Lawrence.' — The Times. 

1 Sir H. S. Cunningham has succeeded in writing the history of a 
critical period in so fair and dispassionate a manner as to make it 
almost a matter of astonishment that the motives which he has so 
clearly grasped should ever have been misinterpreted, and the results 
which he indicates so grossly misjudged. Nor is the excellence of his 
work less conspicuous from the literary than from the political and 
historical point of view.' — Glasgow Herald. 

* Sir H. S. Cunningham has treated his subject adequately. In vivid 
language he paints his word-pictures, and with calm judicial analysis 
he also proves himself an able critic of the actualities, causes, and results 
of the outbreak, also a temperate, just appreciator of the character and 
policy of Earl Canning.' — The Court Journal. 


Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

1 Mr. Hutton has brought to his task an open mind, a trained 
historical judgement, and a diligent study of a great body of original 
material. Hence he is enabled to present a true, authentic, and 
original portrait of one of the greatest of Anglo-Indian statesmen, 
doing full justice to his military policy and achievements, and also to 
his statesmanlike efforts for the organization and consolidation of that 
Empire which he did so much to sustain.' — Times. 

'To the admirable candour and discrimination which characterize 
Mr. Hutton's monograph as an historical study must be added the 
literary qualities which distinguish it and make it one of the most 
readable volumes of the series. The style is vigorous and picturesque, 
and the arrangement of details artistic in its just regard for proportion 
and perspective. In short, there is no point of view from which the work 
deserves anything but praise.' — Glasgoio Herald. 

' The Rev. W. H. Hutton has done his work well, and achieves with 
force and lucidity the task he sets himself: to show how, under 
Wellesley, the Indian company developed and ultimately became the 
supreme power in India. To our thinking his estimate of this great 
statesman is most just.' — Black and White. 

1 Mr. Hutton has told the story of Lord Wellesley's life in an admir- 
able manner, and has provided a most readable book.' — Manchester 

1 Mr. Hutton's range of information is wide, his division of subjects 
appropriate, and his diction scholarly and precise.' — Saturday Review. 

©pinions of tfte Press 



Thibd Edition. Fourth Thousand. 

' We can thoroughly praise Sir Lepel Griffin's work as an accurate 
and appreciative account of the beginnings and growth of the Sikh 
religion and of the temporal power founded upon it by a strong and 
remorseless chieftain.' — The Time*. 

1 Sir Lepel Griffin treats his topic with thorough mastery, and his 
account of the famous Maharaja and his times is, consequently, one of 
the most valuable as well as interesting volumes of the series of which 
it forms a part.' — The Globe. 

1 From first to last it is a model of what such a work should be, and 
a classic.' — The St. Stephen's Review. 

'The monograph could not have been entrusted to more capable 
hands than those of Sir Lepel Griffin, who spent his official life in the 
Punjaub.' — The Scotsman. 

' At once the shortest and best history of the rise and fall of the 
Sikh monarchy.' — The North British Daily Mail. 

' Not only a biography of the Napoleon of the East, but a luminous 
picture of his country ; the chapter on Sikh Theocracy being a notable 
example of compact thought.' — The Liverpool Mercury. 


Second Edition. Thibd Thousand. 

'The " Rulers of India" series has received a valuable addition in 
the biography of the late Lord William Bentinck. The subject of this 
interesting memoir was a soldier as well as a statesman. He was 
mainly instrumental in bringing about the adoption of the overland 
route and in convincing the people of India that a main factor in Eng- 
lish policy was a disinterested desire for their welfare. Lord William's 
despatches and minutes, several of which are textually reproduced in 
Mr. Boulger's praiseworthy little book, display considerable literary 
skill and are one and all State papers of signal worth.' — Daily Tele- 

1 Mr. Boulger is no novice in dealing with Oriental history and 
Oriental affairs, and in the career of Lord William Bentinck he has 
found a theme very much to his taste, which he treats with adequate 
knowledge and literary skill.' — The Times. 

'Mr. Boulger writes clearly and well, and his volume finds an ac- 
cepted place in the very useful and informing series which Sir William 
Wilson Hunter is editing so ably.' — Independent. 

©pinions of t&e Press 



Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

' Sir William Hunter, the editor of the series to which this book 
belongs, was happily inspired when he entrusted the Life of Elphin- 
stone, one of the most scholarly of Indian rulers, to Mr. Cotton, who, 
himself a scholar of merit and repute, is brought by the nature of his 
daily avocations into close and constant relations with scholars. . . . We 
live in an age in which none but specialists can afford to give more time 
to the memoirs of even the most distinguished Anglo-Indians than will 
be occupied by reading Mr. Cotton's two hundred pages. He has per- 
formed his task with great skill and good sense. This is just the kind 
of Life of himself which the wise, kindly, high-souled man, who is the 
subject of it, would read with pleasure in the Elysian Fields.' — Sir M. 
E. Grant Duff, in The Academy. 

1 To so inspiring a theme few writers are better qualified to do ample 
justice than the author of" The Decennial Statement of the Moral and 
Material Progress and Condition of India." Sir T. Colebrooke's larger 
biography of Elphin stone appeals mainly to Indian specialists, but 
Mr. Cotton's slighter sketch is admirably adapted to satisfy the growing 
demand for a knowledge of Indian history and of the personalities of 
Anglo-Indian statesmen which Sir William Hunter has done so much 
to create.' — The Times. 


' A most valuable, compact and interesting memoir for those looking 
forward to or engaged in the work of Indian administration.' — Scotsman. 

' It is a careful and sympathetic survey of a life which should always 
serve as an example to the Indian soldier and civilian.' — Yorkshire Post. 

'A true and vivid record of Munro's life-work in almost auto- 
biographical form.' — Glasgow Herald. 

1 Of the work before us we have nothing but praise. The story of 
Munro's career in India is in itself of exceptional interest and im- 
portance.' — Freeman's Journal. 

1 The work could not have been better done ; it is a monument of 
painstaking care, exhaustive research, and nice discrimination.' — People. 

'This excellent and spirited little monograph catches the salient 
points of Munro's career, and supplies some most valuahle quotations 
from his writings and papers.' — Manchester Guardian. 

' It would be impossible to imagine a more attractive and at the 
same time instructive book about India.' — Liverpool Courier. 

1 It is one of the best volumes of this excellent series.' — Imperial and 
Asiatic Quarterly Review. 

' The book throughout is arranged in an admirably clear manner and 
there is evident on every page a desire for truth, and nothing but the 
truth.' — Commerce. 

1 A clear and scholarly piece of work.' — Indian Journal of Education. 

©pinions of t&e press 



Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

' Mr. Stephens' able and instructive monograph . . . We may commend 
Mr. Morse Stephens' volume, both as an adequate summary of an 
important period in the history of the relations between Asia and 
Europe, and as a suggestive treatment of the problem of why Portugal 
failed and England succeeded in founding an Indian Empire.' — The 

* Mr. H. Morse Stephens has made a very readable book out of the 
foundation of the Portuguese power in India. According to the 
practice of the series to which it belongs it is called a life of Affonso de 
Albuquerque, but the Governor is only the central and most important 
figure in a brief history of the Portuguese in the East down to the time 
when the Dutch and English intruded on their preserves ... A plea- 
santly-written and trustworthy book on an interesting man and time.' 
— The Saturday Review. 

* Mr. Morse Stephens' Albuquerque is a solid piece of work, well put 
together, and full of interest.' — The Athenceum. 

1 Mr. Morse Stephens' studies in Indian and Portuguese history have 
thoroughly well qualified him for approaching the subject ... He has 
presented the facts of Albuquerque's career, and sketched the events 
marking the rule of his predecessor Almeida, and of his immediate 
successors in the Governorship and Viceroyalty of India in a compact, 
lucid, and deeply interesting form.' — The Scotsman. 


Third Edition. Fourth Thousand. 
' No man knows the policy, principles, and character of John 
Lawrence better than Sir Charles Aitchison. The salient features 
and vital principles of his work as a ruler, first in the Punjab, and 
afterwards as Viceroy, are set forth with remarkable clearness.' — 

1 A most admirable sketch of the great work done by Sir John 
Lawrence, who not only ruled India, but saved it.' — Manchester 

4 Sir Charles Aitchison's narrative is uniformly marked by directness, 
order, clearness, and grasp ; it throws additional light into certain 
nooks of Indian affairs ; and it leaves upon the mind a very vivid 
and complete impression of Lord Lawrence's vigorous, resourceful, 
discerning, and valiant personality.' — Newcastle Daily Chronicle. 

* Sir Charles knows the Punjab thoroughly, and has made this little 
book all the more interesting by his account of the Punjab under John 
Lawrence and his subordinates.' — Yorkshire Post 

©pinions of tbe IPtess 



Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

' Mr. Bowring's portraits are just, and his narrative of the continuous 
military operations of the period full and accurate.' — Times. 

' The story hag been often written, but never better or more con- 
cisely than here, where the father and son are depicted vividly and 
truthfully "in their habit as they lived." There is not a volume of 
the whole series which is better done than this, or one which shows 
greater insight.' — Daily Chronicle. 

' Mr. Bowring has been well chosen to write this memorable history, 
because he has had the best means of collecting it, having himself 
formerly been Chief Commissioner of Mysore. The account of the 
Mysore war is well done, and Mr. Bowring draws a stirring picture of 
our determined adversary.' — Army and Navy Gazette. 

'An excellent example of compression and precision. Many volumes 
might be written about the long war in Mysore, and we cannot but 
admire the skill with which Mr. Bowring has condensed the history of 
the struggle. His book is as terse and concise as a book can be.' — 
North British Daily Mail. 

' Mr. Bowring's book is one of the freshest and best of a series most 
valuable to all interested in the concerns of the British Empire in the 
East.' — English Mail. 

' The story of the final capture of Seringapatam is told with skill 
and graphic power by Mr. Bowring, who throughout the whole work 
shows himself a most accurate and interesting historian.' — Perthshire 


Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

' This book gives a spirited and accurate sketch of a very extra- 
ordinary personality.' — Speaker. 

1 Colonel Malleson writes a most interesting account of Clive's great 
work in India — so interesting that, having begun to read it, one is 
unwilling to lay it aside until the last page has been reached. The 
character of Clive as a leader of men, and especially as a cool, intrepid, 
and resourceful general, is ably described ; and at the same time the 
author never fails to indicate the far-reaching political schemes which 
inspired the valour of Clive and laid the foundation of our Indian 
Empire.' — North British Daily Mail. 

' This monograph is admirably written by one thoroughly acquainted 
and in love with his subject.' — Glasgow Herald. 

' No one is better suited than Colonel Malleson to write on Clive, 
and he has performed his task with distinct success. The whole narra- 
tive is, like everything Colonel Malleson writes, clear and full of 
vigour.' — Yorkshire Post. 

* Colonel Malleson is reliable and fair, and the especial merit of his 
book is that it always presents a clear view of the whole of the vast 
theatre in which Clive gradually produces such an extraordinary change 
of scene.' — Newcastle Daily Chronicle. 

©pinions; ot tfje Press 


'A vivid account of the causes, conduct, and consequences of "the 
costly, fruitless, and unrighteous" Afghan War of 1838.' — St. James's 

'To write such a monograph was a thankless task, but it has been 
accomplished with entire success by Captain L. J. Trotter. He has 
dealt calmly and clearly with Lord Auckland's policy, domestic and 
military, with its financial results, and with the general tendency of 
Lord Auckland's rule.' — Yorkshire Post. 

'To this distressing story (of the First Afghan War) Captain Trotter 
devotes the major portion of his pages. He tells it well and forcibly ; 
but is drawn, perhaps unavoidably, into the discussion of many topics 
of controversy which, to some readers, may seem to be hardly as yet 
finally decided. ... It is only fair to add that two chapters are devoted 
to " Lord Auckland's Domestic Policy," and to his relations with 
" The Native States of India." '— The Times. 

' Captain Trotter's Earl of Auckland is a most interesting book, and 
its excellence as a condensed, yet luminous, history of the first Afghan 
War deserves warm recognition.' — Scotsman. 

' It points a moral which our Indian Rulers cannot afford to forget 
so long as they still have Russia and Afghanistan to count with.' — 
Glasgoio Herald. 

Supplementary Volume : price 3s. 6d. 


' Sir R. Temple's book possesses a high value as a dutiful and 
interesting memorial of a man of lofty ideals, whose exploits were 
none the less memorable because achieved exclusively in the field 
of peaceful administration.' — Times. 

' It is the peculiar distinction of this work that it interests a reader 
less in the official than in the man himself.' — Scotsman. 

' This is a most interesting book : to those who know India, and 
knew the man, it is of unparalleled interest, but no one who has 
the Imperial instinct which has taught the English to rule subject 
races "for their own welfare" can fail to be struck by the simple 
greatness of this character.' — Pall Mall Gazette. 

' Mr. Thomason was a great Indian statesman. He systematized 
the revenue system of the North- West Provinces, and improved every 
branch of the administration. He was remarkable, like many great 
Indians, for the earnestness of his religious faith, and Sir Richard 
Temple brings this out in an admirable manner.' — British Weekly. 

•The book is "a portrait drawn by the hand of affection," of one 
whose life was " a pattern of how a Christian man ought to live." 
Special prominence is given to the religious aspects of Mr. Thomason's 
character, and the result is a very readable biographical sketch.' — 

©pinions of t&e press 



'The concluding volume of Sir William Hunter's admirable " Rulers 
of India" series is devoted to a biography of John Russell Colvin. 
Mr. Colvin, as private secretaiy to Lord Auckland, the Governor- 
General during the first Afghan War, and as Lieutenant-Governor of 
the North-West Provinces during the Mutiny, bore a prominent part 
in the government of British India at two great crises of its history. 
His biographer is his son, Sir Auckland Colvin, who does full justice to 
his father's career and defends him stoutly against certain allegations 
which have passed into history. ... It is a valuable and effective 
contribution to an admirable series. In style and treatment of its 
subject it is well worthy of its companions.' — Times. 

1 The story of John Colvin's career indicates the lines on which the 
true history of the first Afghan War and of the Indian Mutiny should 
be written. . . . Not only has the author been enabled to make use 
of new and valuable material, but he has also constructed therefrom 
new and noteworthy explanations of the position of affairs at two turning- 
points in Indian history.' — Academy. 

* High as is the standard of excellence attained by the volumes of 
this series, Sir Auckland Colvin's earnest work has reached the high- 
water mark.' — Army and Navy Gazette. 

Sir Auckland Colvin gives us an admirable study of his subject, both 
as a man of affairs and as a student in private life. In doing this, his 
picturesque theme allows him, without outstepping the biographical 
limits assigned, to present graphic pictures of old Calcutta and Indian 
life in general.' — Manchester Courier. 

' This little volume contains pictures of India, past and present, which 
it would be hard to match for artistic touch and fine feeling. We wish 
there were more of the same kind to follow.' — St. James's Gazette. 


' An admirable account of the work done by one of the greatest and 
most noble of the men who have adorned our Indian Empire. . . . No 
man is better qualified to write about the defence of the Residency than 
General Innes.' — Athenaeum. 

' We can cordially recommend this account of the modern Christian 
hero.' — Academy. 

' A sympathetic sketch. General Innes tells his story with soldierly 
brevity and a sturdy belief in his hero.' — Times. 

'The lessons taught by Sir Henry Lawrence's work in India are, 
perhaps, at this moment as deserving of serious reflection as at any time 
since his death. We welcome this excellent little biography of the 
great soldier-civilian by a distinguished officer of exceptional knowledge 
and experience.' — Daily News. 

' This book is a very good memoir, as nearly as possible what a book 
of the kind should be.' — Scotsman. 


DS Lane-Poole, Stanley 
461 Ba*bar 

T ^3